Breakout Golfers to Watch in 2024

Twitter // @GabiRuffels

Among the array of emerging golf talents poised to make a splash in 2024, one name stands out like a phoenix rising from the fire: Gabriela Ruffels. With an unconventional journey from junior tennis to the golf greens and a series of accolades marking her swift ascent, here is everything you need to know about the upcoming athlete!

An Unconventional Path to Golf

Born in Orlando, Florida, and raised in Melbourne, Australia, Ruffels initially made her mark in the junior tennis circuit, climbing to the top of Australia’s junior rankings by the age of 12. However, at 14, she ventured into golf, seeking a change. Ruffels’s natural prowess in golf quickly made waves, propelling her into the limelight as a junior golfer, prompting her to take up the sport full-time.

Ruffels’s defining moment arrived in 2019 when, as a rising junior at the University of Southern California, she etched her name in history by becoming the first Australian to clinch the U.S. Women’s Amateur—a monumental victory that signaled her readiness to compete at the highest levels of the sport.

Transition to the Pros and Perseverance

Her decision to turn professional in 2021 came with its own set of hurdles. Despite a registration mishap that initially hindered her LPGA membership, Ruffels displayed unwavering determination. Undeterred by the setback, she continued to hone her skills on the Epson Tour, the developmental circuit for the LPGA. Her resilience shone as she conquered the Epson Tour with three victories in 2023, culminating in the prestigious Epson Tour Player of the Year accolade.

Twitter // @GolfAust

Now embarking on her maiden voyage in the official LPGA season, Ruffels enters the fold with a commendable competitive edge. Having already partaken in nine major championships, including three as an amateur, and securing four top-20 finishes, she’s poised to make significant strides on the professional stage.