- USGA photo
After negotiating a pandemic-altered schedule and taking advantage of opportunities created by her biggest amateur win, Gabriela Ruffels
of Australia is the 2020 AmateurGolf.com Women's Player of the Year.
The AmateurGolf.com Women's Player of the Year is awarded based on a point system earned through performance in major women's amateur events throughout the course of the year. This year, the 20-year-old Ruffels topped a international field of players due to her performance in college, amateur and pro events.
Players of the Year
As the year started, Ruffels was in her junior season at USC and was coming off of a year in which she won both the U.S. Women's Amateur
and the Women's North & South Amateur
. Though her play in the fall college season was not up to her standard, she started off the spring well, finishing T12 at the Northrup Grumman Regional Challenge and winning the Rebel Beach Intercollegiate by two shots at 9 under par.
But then a double whammy -- Ruffels was forced to withdraw from her next tournament with an injury, and then just a couple of weeks later the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic shut down college golf as all remaining tournaments were cancelled.
The Rebel Beach would be the last college tournament Ruffels would play in 2020. Even though some conferences started up again in the fall, the PAC-12 remained shut down and Ruffels was forced to find other avenues for competition.
Fortunately her U.S. Women's Amateur championship would open a lot of doors, though for a while it was hard to know exactly when. She was exempt into professional majors like the U.S. Women's Open, the Women's British Open and the ANA Inspiration, but all were postponed by the pandemic.
In July, she became the first woman to enter
the Jacksonville Amateur Championship. Then, at the U.S. Women's Amateur in August, she was poised to become a rare back-to-back winner
of the world's biggest amateur championship.
After winning five matches to reach a second-straight final match, Ruffels stood on the 36th green all square with Rose Zhang as the 17-year-old faced a difficult half-wedge from thick rough, needing to get up and down to keep the match going. With one hand on her second straight Robert Cox Trophy, Ruffels watched as Zhang stuffed it close, and then on the 38th hole Ruffels' missed a short putt to end the match
With her fall college season cancelled, Ruffels focused on professional events through the remainder of the year. With the professional majors rescheduled, Ruffels played in three, and though she missed the cut at the Women's British Open, she finished in the top 15 of both the ANA Inspiration and the U.S. Women's Open.
She also competed in the Symetra Tour Championship, finishing tied for 5th in that professional field.
In her final event of 2020, Ruffels helped the International team win the Palmer Cup
for the second straight year.
Final Women's POY Points Standings, 2020
Ruffels is the second straight USC Trojan to be named the AmateurGolf.com Women's Player of the Year. Her teammate Jennifer Chang won the points race in 2019 before leaving USC and turning pro late in the year.
The runner-up in the 2020 points race was Ingrid Lindblad. The LSU sophomore won the Florida State Matchup in college and also won a professional event in her home country of Sweden. Her countrywoman Linn Grant was third and also had a college and professional win.
Rose Zhang, who denied Ruffels a U.S. Women's Amateur title defense, was 6th in the standings even though she only played three non-junior events.
Golfweek/AmateurGolf.com Women's Rankings
| Complete 2020 Points List (735 players)