Ryu brilliant at RACV Ladies Masters

South Korean, So Yeon Ryu, has the halfway lead at the Gold Coast RACV Australian Ladies Masters.

Ryu's second round of 61 has opened up a four shot lead over the Netherland's Christel Boeljon who in turn is three shots ahead of Australia's Nikki Campbell and Ryu's fellow Korean Bo Mee Lee.

The current US Women's Open Champion produced 12 birdies, her one bogey coming at the second after missing the fairway.

"I missed the fairway there and a makeable par putt then at the next I missed a one metre eagle putt," said Ryu after her round. "I found the key straight away, that being that I was getting too technical over the putt. I just then tried to rely on feel and my putting got better."

Over the next 15 holes it certainly did get better. She holed massive putts for birdie at the 9th and again for birdie at the 11th. When she hit a superb fairway bunker approach to three feet at the demanding par four 13th Ryu had joined Boeljon in the lead and, when she then birdied the par three fourteenth, the 21 year old had moved ahead.

She was not about to stop there however. Birdies at the 15th and 16th had her at at 16 under and three ahead of the field. Not only had her lead increased but so too had the chance of a possible 59. The short par four 17th and the reachable par five 18th lay ahead and there was a mathematical chance she could become the first woman in the history of Australian golf to break 60.

Her focus however was on a round of 61 as that would beat her previous best by one. The birdie at the 17th did not happen but at the last and so keen on bettering her previous best round of 62 she hit one of the most delightful bunker shots imaginable from the bunker behind the green to a foot. It was all of 30 metres and from a downhill lie. It was inch perfect and sealed what had been a brilliant afternoon of golf.

"I am happy as I really wanted to change that number and now I can," said Ryu referring to the fact that she has regularly marked her ball with a 62 as recognition of her previous milestone.

This week and the next three were to be a trial for her new caddy, Australian, Tom Watson. If the opening two days of this event are any indication, Watson can feel at ease regarding his future role with Ryu and it may just be that the feeling is mutual

"Tom makes me feel very comfortable with his conversation so it is going well," added Ryu.

Boeljoen, a 24 year old Dutchwoman and a winner of the Turkish Open on the Ladies European Tour last year, played in the morning field this morning and appeared to have set a very difficult target for the afternoon field when she finished with birdies at the 16th and 17th and then holed a 35 foot eagle putt at the last to take a three shot lead as she signed her card.

Boeljen won the Turkish Open last year and has been runner-up on five other occasions so while not a familiar name in this country her form is no real surprise. Interestingly for the lady who attended Pursue University in Indiana it is the first time she has made the cut in this event.

"Yes, it is true," she said referring to the fact she had not previously made the cut at Royal Pines. "My goal was to make the cut finally. And I think I accomplished that. First tournament of the year, first two rounds, very welcome."

So what was the reason for her previous poor form in this event? "I don't know, I think it is always tough, being the first tournament of the year. You have to get your rhythm back, just get use to playing again.

"This year it seems to be alright, in the previous years, I've always had a little bit of trouble on the greens, always had too much break and it showed. Now it's just what it is, I don't want to read too much into the putts.

"I think I'm better prepared, I have more experience. I had a really good practice session (in Orlando) before I got here. Every golfer needs to learn, and I'm learning as I go, it just seems to work this week. I don't know exactly what it is, but I'm taking it."

Bo Mee Lee led after her opening round of 65 but today she was unable to take full advantage of her morning tee time but at 10 under she is at least within touch of Ryu.

Campbell played in the afternoon today and added her second consecutive round of 67 to be at 10 under. The former Australian Amateur Champion and the runner-up in the event last year was only average through her opening nine holes but she played strongly over the closing nine holes and she looks well placed to continue her good record at Royal Pines having finished 5th and 6th in previous years in addition to her runner-up to Yani Tseng last year.

Italian Diana Luna and American Amelia Lewis both recorded second rounds of 64 on opposite sides of the draw and share 5th position at 9 under but a massive eight shots from Ryu's lead.

While the day ended on a positive it was not the case when three players were disqualified early in the day for taking the lift clean and place ruling in place this week just a little too far. The trio of amateur Annie Choi, Corie Hou and Inhong Lim asked the question when they reached their first tee of the day regarding the lift clean and place ruling and whether it applied to the fairways only or for all of the golf course.

The ruling applied to only balls on the fairway and when it was pointed out to them they had been in the wrong they were advised of their disqualification.

It was a disappointing start for what would however turn into an outstanding day.

High profile casualties of the cut mark of 1 under were Katherine Hull, Kristie Smith and Melissa Reid.

The focus over the next 36 holes however will be whether anyone can catch the brilliant Ryu. She has displayed an almost faultless game to date this week and given what we have seen thus far it is hard to imagine her being caught over the final days.

This though is tournament golf and although she has put a huge gap on the only player ranked higher than her in the event, Stacy Lewis, there are plenty of others who could yet challenge Ryu for the title.

Bruce Young
About The Author : Bruce Young

A multi-award winning golf journalist, Bruce's extensive knowledge of and background in the game of golf comes from several years caddying the tournament circuits of the world, marketing a successful golf course design company and as one of Australia's leading golf journalists and commentators.

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