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Friday, June 22, 2018

So Yeon Ryu Returns to Arkansas

The Walmart NW Arkansas Championship has drawn a strong field as players prepare for next week's major, the KPMG Women's PGA Championship. And defending champ So Yeon Ryu comes into the event with some serious momentum after winning last week at the Meijer LPGA Classic.

Defending champ So Yeon Ryu

As usual, Tony Jesselli has a preview of the event at his blog. He notes that this is the third strongest non-major event of the year -- understandable, as this is the third event preceding a major this year!

While the field is very strong and there are plenty of players with major storylines this week -- such as Stacy Lewis trying to grab a "home game" before leaving on maternity leave, and fellow Razorback Gaby Lopez hoping to grab her first win here (as Lewis did nearly a decade ago) -- it seems to me that So Yeon Ryu is the real story here. Her play has been a bit uneven this year, and there are reports that she's been very frustrated.

But after last week's win, and with the KPMG coming up next week, So Yeon could find herself with an Ariya Jutanugarn-like season if she could manage to win this week. After all, two wins leading into a major...? Last week's win wouldn't have drained her the way, say, Brooks Koepka's major win did last week -- the women simply don't draw the same media attention as the men, and the Meijer isn't a major (although it may have felt like one to So Yeon). A little positive adrenaline after finally breaking through this season could be just what she needs.

So I'm looking forward to see how she performs this week. This is only a three-day event, so it's unlikely to tire her too much. And whether she wins or not, a strong performance could put her in the right frame of mind to pick up her third major next week.

GC's broadcast starts tonight, and runs from 6:30-8:30pm.

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