So Yeon Ryu
Born: June 29, 1990
Height: 5 ft 6 in
Birthplace: South Korea
College: Yonsei University
Turned Pro: 2007
Sponsors: Hana Bank, Honma
So Yeon Ryu became a professional golfer at the age of 17. She played on a satellite tour in the United States called the Cactus Tour and collected her first win there in 2008. Ryu qualified to play on the Korean LPGA Tour and found instant success, winning the Sports Seoul Open in her first KLPGA start.
Ryu began to win consistently in Korea recording 5 wins during the 2009 season. She won again in 2011 and 2012.
Ryu collected her first LPGA title and first Major championship in July 2011 at the U.S. Women’s Open after qualifying for the tournament based on her success in South Korea. The Broadmoor East Course in Colorado Springs hosted that year’s Women’s U.S. Open and it became the first course in women’s history to play longer than 7,000 yards.
Summer thunderstorms created multiple delays that week as the four rounds were played in starts and stops and the tournament required a Monday finish.
Ryu started with a three over par 74, but shot a pair of 69’s in rounds two and three. Ryu made it three straight 69’s with her three-under performance in the final round. She however was tied by fellow South Korean Hee Kyung Seo. The two participated in the first aggregate three-hole playoff in Women’s U.S. Open history. Ryu won by three shots in the playoff and took home the top purse of $585,000.
Ryu has won twice more on the LPGA Tour since her win at the U.S. Open. She was named LPGA Rookie of the Year in 2012, beating Lexi Thompson for the honor. Ryu recorded 16 top tens during the 2012 season.
In 2013, Ryu failed to win but she played well in the year’s Majors, finishing 2nd at the ANA Inspiration, 3rd at the U.S. Women’s Open and tied for 4th at the Evian Championship.
In 2014, she won her 3rd LPGA title by capturing the Canadian Pacific Women’s Open.