HOYLAKE, England (AP) - So Yeon Ryu won the U.S. Women's Open last summer in Colorado and backed it up with a victory last month in the Jamie Farr Toledo Classic.
The 22-year-old South Korean player made another big statement Thursday at Royal Liverpoool in her Women's British Open debut, shooting a 2under 70 for a share of the firstround lead with Haeji Kang.
"After I won [in Toledo], I was a little more relieved and that helped me a lot," Ryu said. "How can I say, even when I was winning the U.S. Women's Open, a lot of people said it might be just one tournament or just a dark horse like that. But after I won the Toledo championship, I broke that."
Coming off a victory last week in a Korean LPGA event, Ryu had five birdies and two bogeys in relatively calm conditions on the difficult links course.
"This is my first time played in England, so I never played this type of golf course," Ryu said. "It's really tough, but fun. Always the first experience, really fun and a little tough, but I want to enjoy this type of golf course.
"Actually, Tuesday and Wednesday was so bad, so today feels like a really great weather. But you know, in Korea it was a little really strong wind, and a little different from this course. This wind might not be a bad wind. I think today the weather was really great." The 2-under leading score is the highest in the first round since the tournament became a major in 2002, in relatively calm conditions. The 21-year-old Kang, also
"I hit it pretty good out there," said Kang, winless on the LPGA Tour. "My iron shots were just inside 20 feet all the time, so I could just putt it out."
She hit 13 greens in regulation and needed only 27 putts in her morning round.
"Oh, it was much better this morning," Kang said. "As soon as I made the turn, it started blow. But I played yesterday the practice round with the rain, also, so I'm ready."