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Gabi Ruffels in US Women’s Amateur final

Australian golf star Gabi Ruffels is aiming to become the first back-to-back winner of the US Women’s Amateur title in almost a decade when she tees off in the final of the prestigious championship.

Ruffels last year became the first Australian to win the event and will face off against Rose Zhang in the 36-hole finale – which will conclude on Monday AEST – at Woodmont Country Club in Maryland.

“Winning the US Women’s Amateur for the second time would mean everything,” Ruffels said.

“I know the list of names that have won it twice and I’d love to join them.

“It’s the biggest tournament in women’s amateur golf and it would be an honour.”

Not since LPGA Tour star Danielle Kang won the 2010 and 2011 US Women’s Amateur titles has a defending champion made it to the final match the following year.

But Ruffels’ record at the US Women’s Amateur reads like results she used to have as a top-ranked junior tennis star in Melbourne before taking up golf only six years ago.

The younger sister of professional golf’s rising star Ryan Ruffels defeated Colombia’s Valery Plata 2 and 1 in the semi-finals and has now won 11 straight matches.

It is longest streak to start a US Women’s Amateur career since Dorothy Campbell won 13 straight from 1909 to 1911.

Kang won last week’s LPGA Tour event in Ohio and is in contention again, sitting second behind New Zealand’s Lydia Ko after three rounds at the Marathon Classic.

Ruffels is the daughter of former tennis pros Ray Ruffels and Anna-Maria Fernandez.

In her senior year of college golf at the University of Southern California, Ruffels has been tipped to be the future of Australian golf by seven-time major winner Karrie Webb.

“(Her mother) Anna-Maria suggested I chat with Gabi about her career,” Webb told AAP last year.

“But after seeing her play, I said there was nothing I could really suggest as she has God-given ability. She has it all.

“It’s absolutely amazing for Gabi to win the US Women’s Amateur so soon in her golf career.

“The sky is the limit for her.”

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