South Korea's Ryu takes one-shot LPGA lead

San Francisco (AFP) –


South Korea's Ryu So-yeon fired a two-under par 70 on Friday to take a one-shot lead over compatriot Kim Sei-young and American Ryann O'Toole in the LPGA Mediheal Championship.

Ryu, who shared the first-round lead with South Korea's Ji Eun-hee and Anne van Dam of the Netherlands, chipped in for birdie at the par-three 12th, but she bogeyed the 16th as she toiled through a "grinding" back nine.

"It was just a grinding day," said Ryu, who had a 36-hole total of seven-under par 137 at Lake Merced in Daly City, California.

"I just grinded and grinded and grinded. I only made one birdie and one bogey on the back nine. I actually didn't really have many birdie chances."

She said the changeable winds made things difficult, making it "tough to make a decision".

"It felt like the wind was really strong into (a shot), and then all of a sudden it stopped," she said. "But I shot two-under par -- never complain with two-under par."

Ryu, whose six LPGA Tour titles include the 2011 US Women's Open and the 2017 ANA Inspiration, had gained ground early with birdies at the second and fourth.

She said she had a good feeling standing over her chip at 12 and her intuition proved good.

"I tried to visualize it clearly and then I made it," she said. "I guess if you believe it you can do it.

"That's the behavior I really need to have for the weekend."

Despite the difficult afternoon conditions, O'Toole birdied three of her last four holes in a 65.

Kim joined O'Toole on 138 with a bogey-free 66 capped by a birdie at the ninth, despite battling back pain.

Overnight co-leader Ji carded a 72 to join a group sharing fourth on 139. She was tied with compatriots Park In-bee, Choi He-yong and Choi Na-yeon and England's Charley Hull.

Choi He-yong climbed the leaderboard with a 65, Choi Na-yeon carded a 67, Park signed for a 69 and Hull posted a 70.

Van Dam slumped to a 77 that left her at even par and tied for 31st.