April 04, 2017 11:06
Ryu So-yeon beat Lexi Thompson of the U.S. in a playoff on Sunday to win the ANA Inspiration, the first LPGA major of the season. It was her first title since winning the Canadian Pacific Women's Open in August 2014. Ryu shed tears of joy on the green after making her final putt.
Ryu has consistently been near the top of the leaderboard, but a tendency to succumb to nerves has cost her many trophies. In 61 tournaments following her win at the Canadian Pacific Women's Open, Ryu had 30 top-10 finishes, including six as runner-up and five in third place. At one point she even sought psychological counseling.
Reflecting on her win, she said, "I told myself I had nothing to lose, that I was lucky to be in the playoff."
Thompson had seemed certain to win the event until she was hit with two two-stroke penalties for an inadvertent rule violation in the third round a day earlier. As a result, she moved back into the leader group that went into the playoff.
Upholding a tournament tradition, Ryu jumped into Poppie's Pond at the 18th hole, joined by her mother, sister, and caddie. "I've dreamed of taking a dip in this sacred pond someday. I am quite sensitive to cold -- I don't even take cold showers -- but I'd be happy to jump into this pond 100 times," she said.
The win, Ryu's fourth career LPGA victory and second major title, added US$405,000 to her season's purse and kept her at the top of the money list with US$792,166. She moved up to No. 2 in the world rankings from third, closing the gap with leader Lydia Ko.
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