by JAMES S. KIM
Oh, the sweet smell of victory.
“I smell like champagne right now, but I’m still so happy,” said a beaming So Yeon Ryu, who received the celebratory dousing after clinching the win at the Canadian Pacific Women’s Open on Sunday.
It’s been two years since the 24-year-old pro from South Korea won a tournament, but she did so handily, finishing at 23 under to break the Canadian Women’s Open 72-hole record for scoring in relation to par by five shots, according to the Golf Channel. Though Ryu said she was a little disappointed that she fell short of Annika Sorenstam’s LPGA Tour record of 27 under, she still savored the long-awaited victory.
“I’ve been waiting so long for the champagne,” she said. “I was ready to get champagne. I put champagne on Inbee [Park] maybe more than five times. Finally, she gave it to me.”
Ryu celebrated with her fellow Korean competitors, Na Yeon Choi, who finished at 21-under, and Park, who finished at 18-under—as they respectively placed 1-2-3 in the tournament. The trio of champions also happen to be close friends; Ryu and Choi will be Park’s bride’s maids at the latter’s wedding in October, the Associated Press reported.
That friendship did not stop the three from trying to outplay each other, however. On the back nine Sunday, Choi nipped away at Ryu’s five-shot lead, cutting it down to one of a birdie and a Ryu bogey. After that, though, Ryu steadied herself through the rest of the holes to claim her third LPGA title.
“Na Yeon almost chased me down, so I was pretty nervous at that moment,” Ryu told the Golf Channel. “The really good thing is I did trust myself. I was focused on my game.”
South Koreans have now won the last three LPGA tournaments after a slow start to the season, according to the Golf Channel. Inbee Park had the only South Korean LGPA title of 2014 coming into August. Mirim Lee won the Meijer LPGA classic on Aug. 10, and Park followed up with a win at the Wegmans LPGA Championship.
Photos via Golf Canada/Bernard Brault