RYAN RUFFELS has delivered an epic response (with his clubs) to a public embarrassment from five-time Major champion Phil Mickelson, shooting a 2-under par 70 in his first pro event at the US PGA Tour’s Farmers Insurance Open.

The 17-year-old has experienced controversy since telling a daily newspaper journalist about a bet he made playing a recent social round with Mickelson, during which Ruffels is believed to have won several thousand dollars from the veteran US PGA Tour player.

The Victorian became the youngest Australian to play professionally on the US PGA Tour, teeing off at the 10th hole of Torrey Pines’ North course on Friday. He notched up birdies at the 15th and 16th to turn 2-under, before cancelling out a birdie at his 11th hole (par-4 second) with a bogey at the seventh.

The former amateur golf star finished the first round of the US PGA Tour event four shots of the pace and in a share of 34th. He is also the leading Australian, one shot ahead of Matt Jones and Geoff Ogilvy (1-under).

“Solid day at the . Good start but long way to go. Time to go to work on the South Course,” Ruffels tweeted.

Ruffels also was officially unveiled as a Nike ambassador:

“The median age of Nike Golf’s TOUR staff just took a massive dip with the signing of highly touted Aussie teen Ryan Ruffels. The Swoosh announced the “head-to-toe” deal on Thursday that will see him play the company’s clubs and wear its apparel. Financial terms were not disclosed,” PGA Tour.com wrote.

“Prior to turning pro, Ruffels was ranked 13th in the World Amateur Golf Ranking and became the youngest player to win Australia’s prestigious Riversdale Cup in 2014. He also posted top-25 finishes at the Australian Open in both 2013 and 2014.

His new bag setup includes Nike’s Vapor Fly driver (9.5 degrees) and 3-wood (15 degrees), Vapor Fly Pro (3-iron), Vapor Pro Combo (4-iron) and Vapor Pro (5-9) irons, Engage wedges (48, 52, 56 and 58 degrees) and Method 001 putter. His ball of choice is Nike’s RZN Tour Platinum.

Ruffels carded a 2-under 70 in Round 1.”