South Korea’s Ryu So-Yeon held off compatriot Choi Na-Yeon on Sunday to capture the Canadian Women’s Open, snapping an LPGA win drought of more than two years.
Ninth-ranked Ryu, the 2011 US Women’s Open champion whose only other prior LPGA crown came at the 2012 Toledo Classic, matched the season-low LPGA 72-hole total of 23-under par, finishing on 265 to defeat Choi by two shots.
Ryu fired a final-round 69, three-under par, to collect a wire-to-wire triumph but only after Choi closed within one stroke with three holes to play. A final six-foot birdie putt at 16 produced Ryu’s final margin of victory.
“I did trust myself,” Ryu said. “I didn’t care about anybody else. I focused on my game. I wasn’t playing my best game on the back nine but I just kept through it.
“Hole 16 was a really big hole. I was sure if I made (the birdie putt) I was going to win it. I was really happy I made it.”
Ryu, 24, had 27 top-10 finishes since her prior victory, 10 of them last season and nine more this year.
Ryu, who will jump from ninth to fifth in the world rankings as a result of the victory, shattered the tournament record low score by five shots.
World No.2 Park In-Bee, the South Korean star who captured her fifth career major title at last week’s LPGA Championship, was third on 270 with spain’s Azahara Munoz fourth, another stroke adrift.
Karrie Webb was the best of the Australians in a share of 13th on 278.
Park was the first to win at 23-under this season, taking the title at Waterloo, Canada.
All three of Ryu’s victories have come when she led or shared the lead after 54 holes.
Choi sank a 15-foot birdie putt at 15 and Ryu missed a six-foot par putt seconds later on the way to a bogey that trimmed her lead over Choi to one stroke with three holes to play.
New Zealand teen star Lydia Ko, the 2012 and 2013 Canadian Women’s Open winner as an amateur, opened with a triple bogey and made four bogeys in a row starting at the third hole on her way to a 76 Sunday to finish in a share 55th on 287.