Just a Matter of Time for Ryu

So Yeon Ryu
Photo Credit: Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

So Yeon Ryu of South Korea waves to fans after making birdie on the 17th green during the third round of the Marathon Classic presented by Owens Corning and O-I at Highland Meadows Golf Club in Sylvania, Ohio.

July 20 2014, Nicklaus Parker

SYLVANIA, Ohio - The inevitable 2014 breakthrough for So Yeon Ryu to get a win is coming. Whether it’s this week, the next or the following, it seems inevitable. She’s played too good of golf this season for it not to be with eight top-10s on the season.

She was right there at the Ricoh Women’s British Open only a couple shots back heading into the final round, but a final-round 79 in terrible conditions proved the end of that. She was there at the Walmart NW Arkansas Championship Presented by P&G the week before, too, but finished two shots back after a final-round 69 wasn’t enough. And she was in it at the U.S. Women’s Open, too, but finished in a tie for 5th.

This week could be that breakthrough the two-time winner is looking for after a third-round 3-under 68 has her just one shot back of the lead at 10-under heading into the final round.

“You know, I can feel my game is definitely improved. The thing is, just the wins are not coming yet,” she said. “But I think it’s really a matter of time. I hope I can get a win at this tournament.

Throughout the season, few have hit it any better than Ryu. Despite being only 114th in driving distance at 245 yards, Ryu’s hit 75 percent of greens (7th on tour) and her 36 rounds under par in 54 rounds is tied for the third best percentage on tour. But it’s been the putter that’s held her back this season. At 30.58 putts per round, Ryu is 83rd on the tour in that category.

“Yeah, putting,” Ryu said when asked what’s held her back. “I always struggle with my putting.”

Since 2012, Ryu has worked with the renowned putting guru Dave Stockton. But the LPGA season is long and the travel extensive, so she hasn’t been out to see Stockton recently. She knew that had to change after a particularly frustrating putting week.

“After the U.S. Open, I could feel, ‘Oh my gosh, my putting is terrible,” Ryu said with a laugh.

She had a tournament the following week in Arkansas, though, but knew she had to get back out to see Stockton. During her week off in California before the Ricoh Women’s British, Ryu drove the two hours east to see him and get her putting fixed.

“Every time my problem is my arms are too tight. Well, especially if I’m nervous my body is getting tighter and I use too much hand work,” she said. “We try to be more focused on lighter hand pressure and a bit more working with the arms.”

It’s been better this week. She’s averaged only 28 putts per round so far this week; although, she wasn’t particularly pleased with her 29-putt performance Saturday. Sunday with the leaders one group in front of her and the pressure of trying to defend her 2012 title here, Ryu’s looking to use the positive vibes from this place to calm her nerves on the green and keep what Stockton’s helped her with fresh.

“I feel like process is more important than result. I just want to be focused on where I am right now and what I have to shoot right now,” she said. “I don’t want to think about the result or winning the trophy, that kind of thing. Still, I think I can play well here.”

Putt like she has so far this week on Sunday and that two-hour drive east two weeks ago could have just pushed her over the edge into her season’s breakthrough.   

Topics: Ryu, So Yeon