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Australia’s Ryan Ruffels fires course-record 61 to lead Vic Open


BARWON HEADS, Australia – Ryan Ruffels had seven birdies and two eagles in a course record-equaling 61 on Thursday, taking a two-shot lead at 11 under after the first round of the Vic Open at 13th Beach Golf Links on Thursday.

The Florida-based Ruffels has been playing on the Korn Ferry Tour and was making his first trip home to Australia since 2019.

He equaled the course record set in 2017 by Jake McLeod after shooting 11 under for the first time in a professional tournament.

Mathew Goggin eagled his final hole to finish at 63 and move into a tie for second at 9 under with Deyen Lawson.

Full-field scores from the Vic Open

Ruffels’ playing partners, Elvis Smylie and Nathan Barbieri, each shot 65 and were in a group of six tied for seventh place at 7 under.

“We just all got into a good rhythm quite early,” Ruffels said. “Feeding off each other ... I don’t know if there’s anything to it, but it certainly happened today.”

The men’s and women’s Vic Opens are being played concurrently on the 36-hole layout at Barwon Heads, near Geelong in Australia’s Victoria state.

Thailand’s Pavarisa Yoktuan and 20-year-old Australian Cassie Porter were tied for the lead in the women’s tournament at 6 under.

Porter upstaged her playing partners, seven-time major winner Karrie Webb and former No. 1-ranked Jiyai Shin of South Korea, with a bogey-free 66.

Shin was in a group of five tied for third at 5 under, and Webb birdied the 18th to get back to par.