Although this week started with an abrupt change, So Yeon Ryu is trying to embrace it.
Ryu confirmed she split with her longtime caddie earlier this week – citing the fact that he just didn’t want to be on the travel grind anymore and was eager to settle down – and has been using Michael Petterson, who most recently worked with Karrie Webb, this week at the ISPS Handa Women’s Australian Open. She managed to bounce back from a 3-over-par 75 on Friday with a 4-under-par 68 on Saturday to get back into the mix.
The 27-year-old started her day with three straight birdies and was off the races after that.
Ryu admitted she wasn’t comfortable with her putting in the second round and lost confidence after missing some short birdie chances early in her round. She said making three birdies out of the gate in the third round helped her to get her confidence back.
“That was very helpful,” she said.
Ryu was only even par on her back nine – with two birdies and two bogeys – and said she was disappointed to not take advantage of some key scoring chances.
“I wish I could have made more birdies or made less bogeys and just make more than 4-under because I already shot 4-under at the front nine, so I was expecting 6 to 7-under, or a really low score to catch up to the leader,” she said. “But I still have one more round and I still can see some room where I can improve my game.”
She sits tied for sixth through three rounds. Ryu said it will depend on where the final-round pin positions are to determine if she plays more aggressive and fire at the flagsticks or laid back and play for the middle of the greens.
Although the player-caddie relationship for Ryu was one that had to be thrust together quickly this week, she said it’s been a great one.
It’s helped that Patterson will only be on Ryu’s bag this week before moving on. She said it’s allowed both player and caddie to have fewer expectations, but she confirmed that the 15-year bagman for Webb has brought a tremendous amount of experience to her game this week.
“It’s been really, really enjoyable,” she said.
Despite the fact that Ryu sits seven shots back of the lead held by Jin Young Ko, she feels she’s still got a chance to make a final-round charge. If she did happen to find the winner’s circle come Sunday, she would move back to No.1 in the world.
“I think, especially with this golf course, and if it’s wind blowing up and if pin positions (are) going to be tough… I think anything’s possible. That’s why I love this game,” she said. “Nothing’s impossible. I’ll just do my best and we will see what’s going on there.”