Golf

South Korea's Ryu takes world No. 1 ranking

South Korean golfer Ryu So Yeon seized the world No. 1 ranking yesterday morning (Singapore time), as she closed with a two-under 69 at the Northwest Arkansas Championship for her 15th international title.

The 26-year-old, who won her second Major championship in April at the ANA Inspiration, finished the 54-hole LPGA Tour event at 18-under 195 for a two-shot win over compatriot Amy Yang and Thailand's Moriya Jutanugarn.

"Dreams come true. I always dreamed about it. I cannot believe it," said Ryu.

"I didn't expect two good things coming together."

This is the first time that Ryu has reached No. 1, having just slipped past Ariya Jutanugarn, Moriya's younger sister.

"First of all, I really appreciate everyone who has been supportive of me, to make me the No. 1 player in the world," said Ryu.

"That's finally made my dream. This is going to be my first week as the No. 1 player in the world. I know it's going to be a lot of pressure but I know I can handle a lot of different things."

Yang fired a seven-under 64 to reach 16 under as she tied Moriya (66) for second place at the Pinnacle Country Club course.

Ryu is the first to win twice this season, the previous 15 tournaments having produced 15 different winners.

She had not played since the ShopRight Classic two weeks ago, when she missed her first cut in three years.

She said the break was just long enough to help her forget about a series of poor performances.

"To be honest, today my game wasn't really a great game," said Ryu.

"Yesterday, my psychologist said 'Don't try to be perfect'.

"I had to tell myself, 'Okay, don't compare this to any other rounds. Just keep focused'."

Ryu now has five wins on the US LPGA Tour, nine on the Korean tour and one on the Ladies European Tour.

She went into the final round with a five-shot lead but said she didn't feel confident of a victory until she made the putt on 17.

"I made a birdie on 17 then I had a really good walk to 18," she said.

"I was really nervous last night. When you have a five-shot lead, everybody is like, you are going to win the tournament for sure, but this is golf.

"I shot 10 under on Saturday and so that means someone had a chance to shoot 10 under today."

- AFP

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