Ruffels began the day brilliantly and contended for the lead when he reached the turn in 4 under 31 but wayward drives at the 13th and 14th holes cost him bogeys before hitting outstanding approaches at the 16th and 17th holes for a two putt birdie at the par five 16th and a tap in birdie at the 17th.
"Yeah, I had a bit of a falter on that back nine there, 13, which is a really gettable hole for me because I can get my length off the tee, said Ruffels. "I blew a drive right there and 14, as well. So two bogeys in a row and I sort of slipped back.It was a gutsy sort of 16, 17, 18. Two good birdies on 16, 17.
"I thought I made that putt for eagle on 16. Yeah, it was important not to drop that one because I knew it was going to put me a few groups earlier and I wanted to be as close to the leaders as I can.
"I don't feel like I've got quite my A Game right now, especially off the tee. When I'm driving it well, I don't miss a lot of fairways. I've had just a few sort of big misses off the tee, and when those happen, I've just got to sort of grit down a little bit and make a few putts, make a few par saves.
"Like you said, that one on 11 was huge for me. I did the smart thing, chipped out and made a par.I feel like I'm doing well with keeping my head and holding it together a little bit. My putter is hot, so when I get a chance, I'm converting a good percentage."
Hoffman leads by one over Kevin Chappell with Robert Garrigus and Gary Woodland another shot back, Garrigus' round of 62 the best of the day by some three shots.
Ruffels is playing the event on invite and has a chance tomorrow to leapfrog his way onto the PGA Tour with a victory.
The highly talented US born and now US based Victorian is a regular on on the Latino America Tour this season where he has already been twice runner-up but a top ten here would earn him another PGA Tour start at next week's Barracuda Championship so there is a lot to play for tomorrow even if he is unable to chase down those ahead of him.
Brett Drewitt and Cameron Percy were the only other Australian to make the cut and they are back in a share of 70th position.
GENESIS GOLF LINK CUP CASTLE HILL