Ryu Hae-ran takes season's first victory at Elcru-TV Chosun Pro Celebrity
Completing three days of the Elcru-TV Chosun Pro Celebrity 2021 tournament at Island Country Club in Ansan, Gyeonggi, Ryu Hae-ran clinched her season's first victory and took the pro-am team trophy alongside KLPGA golfer Kim Ji-yeong and singer Im Chang-jung.
Ryu took the individual trophy after two additional holes in a sudden-death playoff against Choi Hye-jin. She also won the team trophy alongside Kim and Im with a team score of 14-under-par.
The pro-celebrity tournament was a new initiative for the Tour. Unlike other pro-am tournaments, only the KLPGA golfers played the first two rounds, then the top 60 golfers who made the cut were joined by amateur celebrity golfers.
The team event was played on the final day in a best-ball format where two KLPGA golfers and one celebrity amateur make a team and each player plays their own ball, with the best score out of the three for each hole becoming the team's score. Celebrity players were given handicaps on eight predetermined holes, and thus subtracted one stroke for those holes.
Using it to his advantage, Im parred the ninth and 13th holes but they were both carded as birdies as they were two of the nine predetermined handicap holes. As Im’s birdie was the best score of the team for the two holes, he was able to contribute two birdies to the team's winning score.
But the real competition was for the individual trophy as Sung Yu-jin started out the last round on top of the leaderboard with 11-under-par. She held on to that lead for a while, but bogies on the par-4, ninth, par-4, 10th, and par-4, 13th, saw her drop from contention for the trophy.
The trophy hunt narrowed down to Choi Hye-jin and Ryu, both KLPGA favorites who were still both looking for a first win of the season.
On the last day, it was all or nothing for the two, as Choi had eight birdies and three bogies. Her shots were especially on point from par-3, eighth, to par-3, 12th, birdying five consecutive holes. Ryu had seven birdies and two bogies, and both handed in a five-under-par on the last day to a total score of 13-under-par, 203, pushing the match into a sudden-death playoff.
Both birdied the first additional hole, but the second additional hole made all the difference. As Choi narrowly missed her birdie putt, Ryu was left with a short last putt and sunk the ball in to concrete her first win of the season.
The Tour continues on Thursday with the Hana Financial Group Championship at Adonis Country Club in Pocheon, Gyeonggi, with Lee Min-jee of Australia and Lydia Ko of New Zealand joining the field.
BY YUN SO-HYANG [email@example.com]