Posted by: happyfan08 | December 19, 2009

KLPGA: 2010 Orient China Ladies Open Rd 3

Rivalries can elevate an entire sport into something truly special.  Yes, a dominant player smashing records has its place, as does parity, where a lot of different players could possibly win.  But a good old fashioned rivalry, where two players butt heads repeatedly for the top position in a sport can be as exciting as it gets.

In golf, rivalries can be a bit different than in other sports.  Golf is a sport where even great players lose a lot more often than they win; even two great players may rarely find themselves both playing well at the same event during a season.  How exciting, then, was this year’s China Open, which saw the top two players on the KLPGA tour in the final group, both playing well, both shooting for the crown.  And the final round lived up to its promise and more.

Hee Kyung Seo and So Yeon Ryu

Coming into round three, top gun Hee Kyung Seo held a two shot lead over the #2 player on the KLPGA, So Yeon Ryu.  But Seo struggled on the front nine, making three straight bogies at one point.  Ryu was one under at the same time, and thus climbed into a two shot lead over her and Chinese player Taoli Yang at the turn.

So Yeon Ryu

But Seo did not become the great player she is because she gives up.  She rallied with birdies on 10 and 12 to move back to a tie for the lead.  Ryu then countered with a birdie on the par 5 13th to reclaim the lead.  They then exchanged pars for several more tense holes.

Hee Kyung Seo

For a brief moment, it looked like the hometown girl Yang might join them.  She was still at 2 under, three behind Ryu, when she made birdie on 16 to cut the lead to two, and just one shot behind Seo.  But a bogey on the final hole ended her chances of taking the title home for China.

Seo, meanwhile, showed her grit by making birdie on 17 to again climb to 5 under and a share of the lead.  With one hole to go, they were all tied.  And after both made pars on 18, the tournament would conclude the way it had to: in a playoff.

Hee Kyung Seo

They would repeatedly play the 18th hole until a winner emerged.  If Seo is tough as nails when it comes to comebacks, Ryu’s forte is one on one confrontations.  She won the Doosan Match Play championship last season after a grueling nine hole playoff.  But both players had troubles the first time on 18, making bogey.  The second time through, they made par.  Finally, on the third pass, Seo blinked, making a double bogey while Ryu again parred.  It was a bit of a down way to end things after the brilliance that had proceeded it.  But Ryu had nonetheless pulled out the win.

So Yeon Ryu

This is a huge win for Ryu.  The second event of the 2010 season won’t be for a few months, so she will be able to sit on the money list lead over Seo all that time.  This will doubtless give Seo a lot of motivation going into Winter training.  And best of all, the league will benefit, as the Seo-Ryu rivalry has added another new and interesting chapter.

So Yeon Ryu

So Yeon Ryu

Congratulations So Yeon Ryu.  See you all in a few months!!

Scores:
1. So Yeon Ryu 70-71-70 -5*
2. Hee Kyung Seo 68-71-72 -5
3. Jung Eun Lee 5 70-71-73 -2
Taoli Yang (China) 72-70-72 -2
5. Bo Mi Lee 73-72-69 -1

* Won on third playoff hole

Notables:
6. Yani Tseng 75-73-68 Even
8. Jimin Nam (R) 72-73-72 +1
11. Seon Hwa Lee 2 76-68-72 +2
15. Il Hee Lee 73-76-70 +3
19. Ran Hong 74-71-75 +4
Young Ran Jo 72-75-73 +4
Li Jiayun (A) (China) 76-67-77 +4
25. He Yong Choi 75-74-72 +5
26. Ha Neul Kim 76-73-73 +6
38. Bo Mi Suh 78-75-72 +9
Ji Na Lim 75-72-78 +9
71. Aram Cho 78-76-81 +19

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