Ryu So-yeon edges Park Inbee for first title of 2015

March 15, 2015
Ryu So-yeon hugs her trophy after winning the LET's Mission Hills Championship. (Courtesy of Mission Hills / Yonhap)

Ryu So-yeon hugs her trophy after winning the LET’s Mission Hills World Ladies Championship. (Courtesy of Mission Hills / Yonhap)

By Nam Hyun-woo

Ryu So-yeon, 24, grabbed her first win of the year at LET (Ladies European Tour) Mission Hills World Ladies Championship on Sunday, denying fellow Korean and world No. 2 Park Inbee’s bid to win two straight. 

During the final round at the par-73 Blackstone Course in Haikou, China, Ryu sank seven birdies to shoot a four-under 69, one stroke ahead of Park, the defending champion who held on to the lead through the third round.

Ryu shot a total of 13-under 279.

The win marks Ryu’s first Ladies European Tour victory, which came seven months after she lifted the trophy of the LPGA Tour Canadian Pacific Women’s Open title last August.

“I didn’t expect that I had a chance to win this tournament, because I didn’t play really well in the second and first rounds,” Ryu told the official website of the LET.

“I’m really proud of myself, because it’s good to be back in contention and our group was exciting, with Park Inbee and Suzann Pettersen. It was good to play with Inbee, my best friend on the tour. She is not number one right now, but I believe she is the true number one, so it was great to compete with her.”

On Sunday, world No. 8 Ryu made a fresh start, shooting birdies on the third, fifth and sixth holes, but tumbled at the par-four seventh hole, making a double bogey.

Having hit left from the tee into the treacherous black lava rocks, Ryu declared her ball unplayable and took a penalty drop onto an area full of stones. The third shot again went into a greenside bunker and her bogey putt also lipped out of the hole.

Those shots did not deter Ryu, however. She birdied the ninth, 11th, 12th and 17th holes to brush off Park’s pursuit.

With the two topping the event, Korea had its third consecutive win at the World Ladies Championships, in which the scores of the top two players from 18 countries will be combined to determine the winning team.

Ryu and Park also led Korea to top the previous event. Park and Kim Ha-neul won the 2013 event.