Three new names have been added to Golf Australia’s 2021 Rookie Squad.
GA high performance general manager Brad James was thrilled to welcome Gabi Ruffels, Elvis Smylie and Jack Thompson to the 13-strong group of emerging professionals.
Ruffels has been one of world golf’s brightest amateur stars and, incredibly, already has two top-15 finishes in major championships.
“Gabi recently turned pro and she has been exemplary on and off the course at home and abroad over the past four or five years,” James said.
“Gabi joins Steph Kyriacou – who won the prestigious LET Rookie of the Year award last year – in the squad. Steph is a great example of what the GA Rookie Squad can do, which is help players transition into becoming a successful touring professional.”
Robyn Choi and Karis Davidson also return to the squad.
On the men’s side, the two new additions have already impressed in professional events.
Elvis Smylie,18, turned pro just a few days ago, James said.
“He showed his talent by performing well in pro events among strong fields. He finished second at the recent TPS event at Rosebud. And he also did well at both the 2019 Australian Open and 2020 Queensland Open.
“Gabi recently turned pro and she has been exemplary on and off the course at home and abroad over the past four or five years." – Brad James, GA high performance general manager
“Then there is Jack Thompson, from Adelaide, who played really well during this year’s Australian Amateur Championship. He finished second at the 2020 Queensland Open and did well at the 2019 Japan Open. He has used the COVID period to develop himself physically.”
Smylie and Thompson join the 2019 Order of Merit winner, Maverick Antcliff, among the male squad members.
Antcliff, who won three times on the China Tour in 2019 and finished in a tie for third at the 2020 Irish Open, returns to the squad alongside Zach Murray, Brett Coletta, David Micheluzzi, Dylan Perry, Travis Smyth and Blake Windred.
James said he was confident athletes in this year’s squad would continue their progression on the world’s professional tours, with many already taking significant strides.
“We have been delighted with the results of previous and current squad members and we believe those results have been made easier to achieve by the support the program affords them,” James said.
Rookie Squad members receive reimbursed funding towards the investment they make in progressing their careers through training, preparation, travel and competition, visas, caddie fees and more.
Golf Australia 2021 Rookie Squad
Maverick Antcliff (QLD, 2nd year)
Robyn Choi (QLD, 3rd year)
Brett Coletta (VIC, 5th year)
Karis Davidson (QLD, 4th year)
Steph Kyriacou (NSW, 2nd year)
David Micheluzzi (VIC, 2nd year)
Zach Murray (VIC, 3rd year)
Dylan Perry (QLD, 3rd year)
Gabi Ruffels (VIC, 1st year)
Elvis Smylie (QLD, 1st year)
Travis Smyth (NSW, 4th year)
Jack Thompson (SA, 1st year)
Blake Windred (NSW, 2nd year)
View the full rookie profiles here.