Ryu uses birdie run to put self in position for redemption at Women's British

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Ryu uses birdie run to put self in position for redemption at Women's British

LPGA Tour

Ryu uses birdie run to put self in position for redemption at Women's British

LYTHAM ST. ANNES, England – The message from So Yeon Ryu’s sports psychologist heading into the week at the Ricoh Women’s British Open was clear – commit and never look back.

After a couple of bogeys in the first four holes, it was advice Ryu sorely needed to follow should she have a chance at winning a third major championship. Ryu executed in short order, recording four consecutive birdies on Nos. 5-8 and ultimately seven birdies in a 10-hole stretch to finish in solo third heading into the final round at Royal Lytham. Her 5-under 67 puts her at 11-under 205 for the championship, two back of Pornanong Phatlum and one back of Georgia Hall. Neither of the players in the final group have won an LPGA event, let alone a major.

“I just keep saying, I’m not going to look back, because even though you look back, what you can do, it’s already past,” she said. “You cannot go back to the first tee.”

Ryu suffered a tough loss last month at the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship to Sung Hyun Park, the woman she’ll be paired with in the penultimate group at the KPMG. With four major championships between them – all four coming in the last 18 months – odds are strong Sunday’s champion could come from the 2:20 p.m. local time pairing.

Ryu took 10 days off after the playoff loss at Kemper Lakes, visiting with family and friends. She was pleased with how she played at the KPMG, drawing confidence from what she considered one of the best performances of her professional career. The time off, she said, helped her to focus on what lies ahead.

“You know, to be honest, really hurt to lose at the playoff but that’s not going to affect my life, and once you start to talk about it … it’s really hard to get over it,” said Ryu. “So I just, after I finished the tournament, I just keep telling myself, even though you finished, you lost in the playoff, I think that was one of your best performances and then that attitude really may help me out to get rid of it. And then I just never look back.”

Ryu has made it known that winning the career grand slam is her main goal. A victory Sunday at Royal Lytham would give her the third leg of the slam. She counts this championship as her favorite because of the history that goes with it, recalling nuggets she recently learned about Seve Ballesteros winning at Lytham that she learned from her “Aussie uncle,” former European Tour player Michael Clayton.

Ryu’s decision to revamp her swing with Cameron McCormick opened up her game to more creativity as she learned how hit every type of shot. Even last week at the Ladies Scottish Open, McCormick encouraged her to use different clubs around the greens.

She’s a more complete player now, the kind that can win anywhere. It never hurts, of course, that after a close call at the last major, she’s got a little something extra to prove.

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