Australia's Gabriela Ruffels wins US Women's Amateur

Gabriela Ruffels became the first Australian winner in U.S. Women's Amateur history, beating Albane Valenzuela of Switzerland 1 up in the 36-hole final at Old Waverly Golf Club

WEST POINT, Miss. -- Gabriela Ruffels became the first Australian winner in U.S. Women's Amateur history Sunday, beating Albane Valenzuela of Switzerland 1 up in the 36-hole final at Old Waverly Golf Club.

The 19-year-old Ruffels, preparing for her junior season at the University of Southern California, pulled even with a birdie on the par-5 33rd, took the lead with a birdie on the par-3 35th and matched Valenzuela with a birdie on the par-4 36th. With Valenzuela 3 feet from the hole on the 36th, Ruffels won with a downhill, left-to-right curling 10-footer.

The 21-year-old Valenzuela will be a senior at Stanford University. She also lost in the 2017 final, falling 6 and 5 to Sophia Schubert at San Diego Country Club.

"I mean, it's tough," Valenzuela said. "And it will be even tougher tonight, but I fought really hard."

Ruffels beat another Stanford player, Andrea Lee, in the semifinals.

The all-international final was the third in event history.

The finalists earned spots in the 2020 U.S. Women's Open at Champions Golf Club in Houston. Ruffels can play the Women's Open as an amateur or professional, while Valenzuela must be an amateur.

"Winning a championship like this gives you recognition and opportunity, and I'm looking forward to that," Ruffels said. "But kind of still going to keep my head down, work hard, and I've still got a lot of things ahead."