Our Sporting Life SA

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Former world number one, ready to taste success and Vegemite again

The 2017 LPGA Player of the Year is set to return to Adelaide for the 2018 Women's Australian Open on February 15.

World number three, So-yeon Ryu last visited Adelaide during 2006 as a 16 year old when playing the Queen Sirikit Cup at Royal Adelaide just one year prior to turning pro in 2007.

A further 12 years on and Ryu is arguably the hottest player currently on the LPGA tour.

Since arriving on the LPGA scene in 2008, the 168cm Korean has missed just six cuts from her 155 events, recording 75 top ten's and winning five tournaments.

From her last 27 Major events she has scored an impressive 13 top ten's and eight top 20's, an amazing achievement.

So dominant was Ryu in 2017 she scored an incredible eight top ten's from her first eight tournaments and ended the season with two wins and 12 top ten's from 23 tournaments.

Having reached the number one position in the LPGA Rolex Rankings during last year she eventually finished the season ranked third and tied with rookie Sung Hyun Park as the LPGA Rolex Player of the Year in what Ryu describes as the most rewarding year so far in her career.

"It (2017) was definitely my most successful year," Ryu told Our Sporting Life SA.

"I achieved many of my dreams. It was my first time to have multiple wins, I became number one and won the LPGA Player of Year.

While Ryu had a taste of being the number one player in the world, it's something she desires to become again in 2018 and she would love a victory whilst she holds the number one tag.

"When I was number one player, I didn't win," Ryu said.

"I want to get back to the number one position and want to win when I become the number one player again.

The Korean also has a very close tie to Australia with caddy Tom Watson and swing coach Cameron McCormick both Aussies that have had an influence on the Dallas-Texas, local.

On Thursday, the 27-year-old will enter the Australian Open for the first time since 2015, back when she finished T21-tied for 21st, at Royal Melbourne, a course she says is her favourite throughout the world.

"My favourite course is Royal Melbourne," Ryu said.

"I had to learn a lot of shots to play well at that course.

"You have to have many skills to play well and you're never going to get bored playing that course.

During the off season Ryu has enjoyed doing ballet and spending valuable time with her family before her busy schedule starts again.

Her training will consist of goal setting and not so much the hitting of balls, it's quality over quantity.

"Everyday is different," Ryu said.

"I don’t plan to practice how many hours. I always set the goal for each day and I finish my practice whenever I achieve that goal.

One of Ryu's strengths lies in her long game, last season she had an average driving distance of 233 metres and scored 11 eagles - fourth best on tour.

If there is an area she would like to improve it's her putting game.

"I started to hit a little longer last year and my long game has been consistent," she said.

"I definitely want to improve my putting.

"I always enjoy to learn new things and that makes me never stop trying to improve myself.

Ryu was also asked if the rumour of her adoring one of Australia's special tastes was true and the answer was yes!

"I love Vegemite," she says.

Maybe Kooyonga will add some Vegemite into their players locker room menu's this week.

Photo- Golf Australia