So Yeon Ryu
Name:So Yeon Ryu
Born:June 29, 1990 in Seoul, South Korea.
MAJORS (2): US Women's Open (2011); ANA Inspiration (2017). Multiple wins on the Korea and LPGA Tours. LPGA Tour Rookie of the Year (2012). Held the position of No.1 golfer in the Women's Official World Golf Rankings.
Ryu turned professional in 2007 at the age of 17. Her first success came on America's Cactus Tour, before she joined the LPGA of Korea Tour in 2008. In Korea she recorded a win in her rookie year, and then five more in 2009. She joined the LPGA Tour in 2012, having won the U.S. Women's Open in a playoff the previous year.
Ryu's second major championship (2017 ANA Inspiration) also came after a playoff. Her playoff opponent Lexi Thompson appeared to be cruising to a comfortable win in the event, until she was hit with a four-shot penalty on the 12th green on the final day. The penalty was for an unintentional and inconsequential rule "infringement" that occured on the previous day. The "infringement" was not picked-up by anyone at the event, but was spotted by a hyperactive armchair TV viewer.
Played as the Meijer LPGA Classic for Simply Give (June 14-17). Second-placed Caroline Masson (Ger) finished 2 shots behind So Yeon Ryu (S Kor). [Blythefield CC, Belmont, nr Grand Rapids, Michigan].
Played as the Walmart NW Arkansas Championship presented by P&G (June 23-25). Second-placed Amy Yang (S Kor) and Moriya Jutanugarn (Thai) finished 2 shots behind So Yeon Ryu (S Kor), whose win took her to the No.1 spot in the Women's World Golf Rankings. [Pinnacle CC, Rogers, Arkansas].
So Yeon Ryu (S Kor) and LPGA Tour rookie Sung Hyun Park (S Kor) were joint winners of the LPGA Rolex Player of the Year Award, based on a points system for top 10 finishes and performance in Majors. Lexi Thompson (USA) and Shanshan Feng (China) were jointly third with 159 pts each.
The ANA Inspiration (46th) (Mar 30-Apr 2). Ryu (S Kor) beat Lexi Thompson (USA) with a birdie at the first playoff hole (par-5 18th). [Dinah Shore Tournament course, Mission Hills CC, Rancho Mirage, CA].
NOTE: Thompson was denied a second major title by the intervention of an armchair TV viewer, who spotted a "rule infringement" from Saturday's play. This led to LPGA rules officials giving Thompson a 4-shot penalty, which was advised to her on the 12th green during Sunday's play! Thompson's "crime" was misplacing her ball by a quarter of an inch (6mm) on a one-foot putt. The misplacement was unintentional, did not put the ball any nearer the hole or on a better lie, and was completely inconsequential to the score. A day when the spirit of golf was again trampled on by the combination of a hyperactive TV viewer and microscopic rule interpretations, which turned the event against its rightful winner.
Played as the Mission Hills World Ladies Championship (March 12-15; CLPGA/LET Tours event). Second-placed Inbee Park (S Kor) finished 1 shot behind So Yeon Ryu (S Kor), who recorded her first LET win. The team strokeplay competition was won by South Korea (Inbee Park & So Yeon Ryu); second was Norway (Suzann Pettersen & Marianne Skarpnord). [Blackstone course, Mission Hills Haikou, Hainan Island, China].
Played as the Canadian Pacific Women's Open (Aug 21-24; formerly CN Canadian Women's Open). Second-placed Na Yeon Choi (S Kor) finished 2 shots behind So Yeon Ryu (S Kor). [London H&CC, London, Ontario].
Ryu (S Kor) won the LPGA Tour 2012 Louise Suggs Rolex Rookie of the Year Award as the leading first-season player. Using a season-long points system (based on finishes in Tour events), Ryu accumulated 1,448 pts; Lexi Thompson (USA) was second with 817 pts. Ryu finished sixth on the LPGA money list, with earnings of $1,282,673.
Played as the Jamie Farr Toledo Classic presented by Kroger, Owens Corning & O-I (Aug 9-12). Second-placed Angela Stanford (USA) finished 7 shots behind Tour rookie So Yeon Ryu (S Kor), who claimed her first win as a full LPGA Tour member. [Highland Meadows GC, Sylvania, nr Toledo, Ohio].
The US Women's Open (66th) (July 7-11). Ryu (S Kor) beat Hee Kyung Seo (S Kor) in a three-hole aggregate playoff: Ryu 10 (-2), Seo 13 (+1). This was Korean Tour player Ryu's first major championship title and first LPGA Tour win. [East course, The Broadmoor GC, Colorado Springs, Colo.].
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