The LPGA Tour returns to Boca Rio Golf Club this week for the second instalment of the Gainbridge LPGA. Here’s everything you need to know about the event, including course information, TV times and players to watch, one of whom is an Aussie about to make her professional debut.
DEFENDING CHAMPION: Sweden’s Madelene Sagstrom reached 17-under-par 271 here last year, defeating Japan’s Nasa Hataoka by one shot in the inaugural edition of the tournament.
COURSE: The picturesque Boca Rio Golf Club, situated in South Florida, was founded in 1967 and its par-72 layout – which will play to 6,127 metres this week – was designed by Robert Von Hagge. Its greens are heavily bunkered, with only three green complexes featuring less than three bunkers. The par-3 17th features the largest green on the course and is protected by water.
PLAYERS TO WATCH …
Australian wunderkind Gabi Ruffels is set to make her professional debut this week.
Born in Florida to former tennis professionals – Ray and Anna-Maria Fernandez – Ruffels was raised in Melbourne and now resides in Southern California.
She made headlines when she won the US Women’s Amateur in 2019 and was inside the top-15 at both the ANA Inspiration (T15) and US Women’s Open (T13) last year.
The 20-year-old University of Southern California student came close to successfully defending her US Women’s Amateur crown last year and is the sister of Korn Ferry Tour player, Ryan.
RIGHT: Ruffels will make her professional debut at Boca Rio this week. PHOTO: Christian Petersen/Getty Images.
World No.5 Danielle Kang finished third here last year – two shots behind Sagstrom – and was runner-up in her most recent start at the Tournament of Champions last month.
The Californian enjoyed an excellent 2020 season, winning twice and posting three additional top-five finishes.
Kang has won every year on Tour since claiming her maiden major title at the Women’s PGA Championship back in 2017. You can expect that run to continue into 2021 – and it could very well happen at Boca Rio this week.
72-HOLE RECORD: Inaugural champion Madelene Sagstrom shot 17-under-par 271 last year.
PAST AUSSIE WINNERS: No previous Australian winners.
AUSTRALIANS IN THE FIELD: Sarah Kemp, Katherine Kirk, Gabriela Ruffels and Sarah Jane Smith.
Round 1: Friday (Fox Sports 507 LIVE 3am – 6am)
Round 2: Saturday (Fox Sports 507 LIVE 3am – 6am)
Round 3: Sunday (Fox Sports 507 LIVE 6:30am – 9am)
Round 4: Monday (Fox Sports 505 LIVE 6am – 9am)
*AEDT, check local guides