The equal pay crowd might have some valid points to make following the conclusion of the U.S. Women’s Amateur in West Point, Mississippi.
Even though it was an amateur competition and did not offer prizemoney to the winner, the women who took part deserve vast compensation for enduring Mississippi in August.
Heat and humidity to rival anything of which Queensland can muster is the fate of those who venture into Mississippi during the northern hemisphere summer.
The U.S. Women’s Amateur was won by Australian Gabriela Ruffels. She became the first Aussie to win the tournament in the history of the event, which dates back to 1895.
Ruffels attends school and plays collegiate golf for the University of Southern California.
New Zealand’s Lydia Ko won the event in 2012, so no southern hemisphere duck was harmed. Australian Anne-Marie Knight was runner up in 1995, as was Lindy Goggin in 1981.
Ruffels, who gives Sandringham, Victoria as her place of birth, won this year’s event by beating Albane Valenzuela of Switzerland 1 up in the 36-hole final at Old Waverly Golf Club.
We would have enjoyed it more if Valenzuela was from Venezuela, but at least she is not from Brazil. She plays collegiately for Stanford University, so California is a spawning ground for women golfers.
Ruffels is just 19 and will be returning to play college golf for the Trojans as a junior.
She won in dramatic fashion. She was one down until she pulled even on the 33rd hole of the final with a birdie. She went ahead by one on the 36th hole and won when she halved the final hole with a dramatic 10-foot putt, one of those dreaded left to right curlers golfers universally detest.
“I’m a proud Australian,” Ruffels said. “That’s where I started playing golf. I have such a huge support system back there, and to win it not only for myself but everyone back home is huge, and it just means the world.”
The victory earns her entry into the 2020 U.S. Women’s Open, where she will have the option of competing as an amateur, or as a professional.
Playing and winning in Mississippi should be worth far more.