Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Ryu rides birdie barrage to win in Toledo Classic

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SYLVANIA, Ohio -- Even though it had only been a little over a year since her victory in the U.S. Women's Open, So Yeon Ryu was already feeling the pressure to win again.

She lapped the field to end the drought Sunday.

Ryu rode a string of six straight birdies in the middle of her round to a 9-under 62 and a seven-stroke victory in the Jamie Farr Toledo Classic.

"This is just my turning point," she said. "I want to win again."

Ryu began the day locked in a four-player logjam -- all South Koreans -- for first place. She took the lead by herself for the first time with an eight-foot birdie putt at the third hole and gradually stretched her advantage until pulling away with birdies on Nos. 9-14.

"On hole No. 9, I made a really long putt and my confidence level went up," she said.

Still, a good friend had provided a cautionary tale. Yeon Jae Son, competing for South Korea in rhythmic gymnastics at the London Olympics, was in line to medal heading into the final day of competition. But, she told Ryu by phone, she had gotten ahead of herself and ended up missing out on a trip to the podium.

Ryu took that to heart on the course.

"It made me nervous because I really wanted to win. ... She helped a lot," Ryu said about the message imparted by her friend. "I didn't want to be thinking of winning. I was just thinking about my score."

Ryu ended up at 20-under 264 thanks to the lowest final round by a Farr winner -- by three strokes.

Samantha Richdale of Kelowna, B.C., closed with a 74 and tied for 42nd. She earned US$6,033.

-- The Associated Press

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition August 13, 2012 C12

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