World number one Ryu So-Yeon targets 'special' first Open
St Andrews (United Kingdom) (AFP)
World number one Ryu So-Yeon is targeting a "special" first win in the women's British Open in Scotland this week.
The South Korean won the 2011 US Women's Open before she was even a member of the LPGA Tour and added a second major title at the ANA Inspiration this year.
But the title Rye has always cherished is the one starting Thursday at.
"I’ve always dreamed of being the world No.1 but now I am there it is a weird feeling," admitted the 27year-old.
"It’s nice to know that all my hard work has paid off. But I don’t really feel any different.
"I’ve played well in all the majors this year. I’m always nervous at big tournaments but I love the challenge. My expectation level is quite high this week, and this is the home of golf. It’s going to be so special if I win in Scotland."
Ryu's best finish in the British Open was a tied for third at Turnberry two years ago.
"That was the worst weather I have ever played in," she recalled.
"But I always expect bad weather in Scotland."
Ryu has an extra incentive to win this week. She has the same coach - Cameron McCormick - as new Open Champion Jordan Spieth. It would be a great double.
"I have worked with Cameron since January 2016 and see him three or four times a week when I am in Dallas,” she continued.
"I watched Jordan win the Open on TV and I was amazed how strong he was.
"We have met a few times but we haven't talked a lot. Cameron has had a lot of experience with Jordan, so he has really helped me to become No.1."
Ryu has always ben working with a former Open Champion, Ian Baker-Finch. He won the title at Royal Birkdale in 1991.
“Finchy has really changed my mind set,” she said.
"I used to practise for three hours, maybe two on putting and one on my long game. But he has changed my goals. Now I work on a drill and once I’ve achieved it, I’m done., no matter about the time.
"He’s taught me to enjoy practice sessions."
- Learning experience -
Lexi Thompson is the leading American in the field, and she is aiming to add to the one major from the 2014 ANA Inspiration. Last week, she rose to a career high No.2 in the world. Not that she noticed.
"I don’t actually focus on the rankings,: she admitted.
"My Dad told me I was up to No.2 but I just concentrate on doing as best as I can in every tournament."
For the Florida native, the wind and rain associated with links golf is a rather alien environment.
"I first played a links at Royal Birkdale (2010) and it was cold, windy and raining and it was the worst weather I have ever played in,” she said. “But it has all been a learning experience.
"This week, the rain has made the greens a little easier and, so far, it has not been too windy. But I think it is a great course. I really love it."
© 2017 AFP