Refreshed Ryu grabs lead with record 61

Ryu, who missed the cut in her last LPGA Tour outing, finished off her bogey-free round with consecutive birdies to reach a two-round total of 16-under 126.
Ryu, who missed the cut in her last LPGA Tour outing, finished off her bogey-free round with consecutive birdies to reach a two-round total of 16-under 126.PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

ROGERS (Arkansas) • South Korea's Ryu So Yeon fired a tournament record 10-under 61 on Saturday to vault into a five-shot lead heading into the third and final round of golf's Northwest Arkansas Championship.

The world No. 3, who missed the cut in her last LPGA Tour outing, finished off her bogey-free round with consecutive birdies to reach a two-round total of 16-under 126.

She has not played since the ShopRite Classic three weeks ago, when she missed her first cut in three years.

She said the break allowed her to clear her mind.

"I played really well at the beginning of this year, then I didn't really play well at the last championship," the 26-year-old said. "I lost confidence a little bit. But I think it was great to have two weeks off, because when you have two weeks off, you totally forget about how you played the last few tournaments."

The previous course record of 62 was set by Angela Park and Jane Park in 2008 and matched last year by Lydia Ko and Ayako Uehara.

Ryu, bidding for her second LPGA title this year and fifth of her career, also established the 36-hole record at the tournament. She finished with 10 birdies on the day to take a comfortable lead over Thailand's Moriya Jutanugarn (65) and American Stacy Lewis (65), who both totalled 131 at the Pinnacle Country Club.

"It was so much fun," Ryu said of her round. "I made a really long putt at the eighth, 17th, and then... the shot was getting better and better. On the back nine, I was able to make some more short birdies, and then pretty much made all of them."

Both Jutanugarn and Lewis each followed their opening-round 66s with seven birdies against one bogey.

Lewis capped her round with back-to-back birdies at the par-three 17th hole and par-five 18th hole.

South Korea's Amy Yang shot a 65 to sit in fourth place at 133.

First-round leader Park Sung Hyun shot a 73 to fall into a tie for 10th place at 136, one stroke ahead of defending champion Ko (67).

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 26, 2017, with the headline 'Refreshed Ryu grabs lead with record 61'. Print Edition | Subscribe