By Ward Clayton
Ryu's final-round 62 among the lowest
So Yeon Ryu's final-round surge last Sunday at the Jamie Farr Toledo Classic was one of the best finishes in LPGA history. The 22-year-old South Korean captured her first official LPGA title with a 9-under-par 62 that added up to a seven-stroke victory at Highland Meadows Golf Club in Sylvania, Ohio.
Ryu's final round tied the all-time LPGA mark for the lowest final-round score by a winner, was the lowest round this season and seven was the largest margin of victory since Yani Tseng won the 2011 Wegmans LPGA Championship by 10 strokes. Her final round included nine birdies - six consecutive on Nos. 9-14 - 12 of 14 fairways hit in regulation, 26 putts and 17 of 18 greens hit in regulation. She was in a four-way tie for the lead entering the final round.
Ryu's recent performances have pointed toward a really low round. She shot 64 and 65 at the Manulife Financial LPGA Classic in late June and 65 at the Evian Masters three weeks ago. Additionally, in 21 career LPGA starts dating back to 2010, Ryu has never missed a cut, with a worst finish of T56 at this year's Kraft Nabisco Championship.
The 2011 U.S. Women's Open champion (an unofficial win because she wasn't an LPGA member) also substantially grew her lead in the 2012 Louise Suggs Rookie of the Year race - 861 points to Lexi Thompson's 458.
Here's a look at the best final rounds by winners:
Lowest final round by a winner
62 (-10), Juli Inkster, 2003 LPGA Corning Classic, 68-66-68-62
62 (-10), Annika Sorenstam, 2006 State Farm Classic, 70-68-69-62
62 (-9), Mickey Wright, 1964 Tall City Open, 73-72-62
62 (-7), Kathy Whitworth, 1968 Holiday Inn Classic, 74-70-62
62 (-9), So Yeon Ryu, 2012 Jamie Farr Toledo Classic, 67-68-67-62
Pumpkin Ridge's storied history
This week's Safeway Classic presented by Coca-Cola marks the fourth year that Pumpkin Ridge's Ghost Creek Golf Course has hosted the tournament. The public facility (neighboring Witch Hollow is a private club) was the first to host a national event when the 1993 Nike Tour Championship was held one year after the course opened.
The North Plains, Ore., facility (located northwest of Portland) played to par 72 in 2009 and 2010 and was changed to a par 71 last year.
The LPGA began holding a Tour event in Portland in 1972 at Portland Country Club. Other sites have been Portland Golf Club (1976), Riverside Golf & Country Club (1985-89) and Columbia Edgewater Country Club (1974-75, ‘83-84, 1990-2008).
Here's a look at significant tournaments held at Pumpkin Ridge:
|1993||Nike Tour Championship||David Duval||Ghost Creek||Aced No. 3, birdied No. 18 to win|
|1994||Nike Tour Championship||Mike Schuchart||Ghost Creek||Double bogey at No. 17, birdie at No. 18 to win|
|1996||U.S. Amateur||Tiger Woods||Witch Hollow||Woods wins third straight Amateur|
|1997||U.S. Women's Open||Alison Nicholas||Witch Hollow||Nicholas birdies No. 18 to beat Nancy Lopez by one|
|2000||U.S. Boys, Girls Juniors||Matthew Rosenfeld,
|Both||First time events held at same facility in same week (both finals at Ghost Creek)|
|2003||U.S. Women's Open||Hillary Lunke||Witch Hollow||Lunke won Monday playoff over Angela Stanford, Kelly Robbins|
|2006||U.S. Women's Amateur||Kimberly Kim||Witch Hollow||At age 14, Kim youngest winner of event|
|2009||Safeway Classic||Mi Jung Hur||Ghost Creek||Hur birdies second extra hole to win|
|2010||Safeway Classic||Ai Miyazato||Ghost Creek||Miyazato wins by two over Cristie Kerr|
|2011||Safeway Classic||Suzann Pettersen||Ghost Creek||Pettersen rallies from nine back, wins in playoff|
Three of the last four Safeway Classics have ended with playoffs and twice they have included more than two players. Last year, Suzann Pettersen came from nine strokes behind to force a playoff with Na Yeon Choi when Choi bogeyed the final hole. Pettersen won with a par on the first playoff hole.
|2011||Suzann Pettersen||Na Yeon Choi Par on first extra hole|
|2009||Mi Jung Hur||Suzann Pettersen, Michelle Redman Birdie on second extra hole|
|2008||Cristie Kerr||Helen Alfredsson, Sophie Gustafson Birdie on first extra hole|
Kathy Whitworth, who has won a record 88 LPGA titles, won the first Portland Ladies Golf Classic 40 years ago at age 33. It was Whitworth's fifth victory in 1972 and the second of three consecutive years in which she was voted LPGA Player of the Year. She was voted Player of the Year seven times in her World Golf Hall of Fame career. … Stacy Lewis has a 141-120 points advantage over Yani Tseng in the Rolex Player of the Year standings…Yani Tseng has missed consecutive cuts (Evian Masters and Jamie Farr Toledo Classic) for the first time in her career. She hasn't had a round in the 60s in the last 15 rounds. … So Yeon Ryu's victory last week in the Jamie Farr Toledo Classic marked the third consecutive victory by a South Korean golfer on the LPGA. … Last year's Safeway Classic drew a record crowd of 88,100.