After two rounds with multiple leaders at the Carlisle Arizona Women’s Golf Classic, the third round ended with only one athlete on top. Gabriela Ruffels separated herself from the rest of the field with a bogey-free -5, 67. The Australian closed out her round with a birdie, which sparked a positive mindset heading into the final round.
“[Walking off 18 green] definitely felt better with a birdie. It wasn’t looking like a birdie when I saw my lie in the bunker after my 3-wood,” said Ruffels. “I’m super happy with my last 4 to 5 holes. I got off to a slow start and finished really well, so I’m happy leading into tomorrow.”
Ruffels is in her sophomore campaign on the Epson Tour and would secure her first professional victory with a win on Sunday. After finishing No. 15 on the 2022 Official Money List, missing her LPGA Tour card through the top 10 by five spots, walking away with the title in Mesa would put Ruffels in a good position to make a run for the 2023 Epson Tour top 10.
“I’ll probably try not to think about it, but I feel like you’re going to, definitely on the last couple of holes,” said Ruffels. “But it would mean everything. We’re all out here trying to do the same thing and get to the LPGA Tour, so a win is a really good step in that direction. It would mean a lot, but we’ll just take it one shot at a time.”
Tied for second, at -12, are second-round leaders Kathleen Scavo and Min A Yoon. The duo both shot -3 during the third round to keep their names near the top of the leaderboard. Scavo carded five birdies on the day but didn’t feel that her overall performance was where it was the past two days.
“It definitely was kind of an up-and-down day, a lot of scrambling and it wasn’t my best ball-striking day,” said Scavo. “But it was great to birdie the last couple of holes. I think the last couple of holes really give me a positive attitude, and I’m really excited for tomorrow.”
Yoon almost had a perfect, bogey-free day but carded one bogey on the back nine. Despite carding four birdies, the Korean has higher hopes for Sunday’s final round.
“I hope that I play better tomorrow than I did today,” said Yoon. “My putting was not bad today, and I look forward to playing with Gabi [Ruffels] again tomorrow.”
Soo Bin Joo and Minji Kang head into the final round in solo fourth at -11 and solo fifth place at -10 respectively. A total of 51 players enter the final 18 holes at even-par or better.
Maude-Aimee Leblanc (-8, T7) on making eagle on No. 15:
“My 8-iron actually broke yesterday. I needed it a couple of times today, and on 15 I needed it. But I was like ‘I’m just going to try and kill a 9-iron.’ I did and it ended up pretty good, I made the putt. So maybe it’s a good thing I didn’t have an 8 today.”
Roberta Liti (-8, T7) on representing the Arizona State Sun Devils in Mesa:
“It’s always nice to come home. This is my second home, so to just be here and play in Sun Devil territory, just feels like home and is so much fun. I see a lot of familiar faces and it’s exciting.”
Jaravee Boonchant (-9, 6th) on three consecutive birdies on the back nine:
“Today I actually had a very tough front nine, actually a tough 14 holes because I couldn’t keep the ball on the green. I tried to stay patient, and I knew that 15 was a short par 5, so I tried to go for the green, got up to the front and chipped to one foot for a tap in birdie. On 16, I chipped in for birdie and on 17 I hit a very good two shots and had a three-footer for birdie. It was nice to see some birdies in a row after a tough front nine.”