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Four months ago, Gabi Ruffels missed the deadline to register for LPGA Q-Series.

On Sunday, the former USC standout and U.S. Women’s Amateur champion took a big step towards securing her LPGA card after earning her first professional victory.

Ruffels led by two shots after 54 holes at the Epson Tour’s Carlisle Arizona Women’s Golf Classic at Longbow Golf Club in Mesa, Arizona. During Sunday’s final round, back-to-back birdies on Nos. 8 and 9 stretched that lead to five.

She would have four birdies in all during a bogey-free final round to go 68-67-67-68 for the week to win by two shots over Kathleen Scavo, who eagled the last to get to 16 under.

After that Q-Series goof, Ruffels finished eighth at LET Q-School. She also has full status on the Epson Tour in 2023. The top-10 finishers on the Epson Tour will earn their LPGA cards for 2024.

The Carlisle event is one of two Epson tournaments in 2023 with a total purse of $335,000, the most in tour history. Ruffels’ first-place share was $50,250. Her career earnings heading into the event were $74,858.

The LPGA and its developmental tour are going back-to-back in Arizona this week and next. Maude-Aimee LeBlanc and Karen Chung are two of the 13 who made the cut at the Epson event who will next tee it up on the LPGA later this week.

Practice rounds begin Monday 21 miles away at Superstition Mountain Golf & Country Club for the LPGA Drive On Championship, the first LPGA stop in Arizona since 2019 and the first at Superstition since the 2008 Safeway International.

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