Golf

The rise of South Korean women

Published 1129 GMT (1929 HKT) June 27, 2013
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So Yeon Ryu is seeking to win her second major title at this week's U.S. Women's Open in Southampton, New York. Scott Halleran/Getty Images/file
In 2011 she became the fifth South Korean to win the tournament when she beat compatriot Hee Kyung Seo in a three-hole playoff in Colorado. Harry How/Getty Images/file
That victory prompted Ryu to move to the U.S.-based LPGA Tour, where she was named Rookie of the Year for 2012, having added another victory to her resume at the Jamie Farr Toledo Classic in August. Gregory Shamus/Getty Images/file
Ryu finished second at the opening major of this season, the Kraft Nabisco Championship in April, after charging up the field with a 65 on the final day. Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images/file
However, the 22-year-old missed the halfway cut at the second major of 2013, the LPGA Championship in Pittsford, New York, at the start of June. Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images/file
Ryu gave up her childhood dream of becoming a musician after taking up golf at elementary school. so yeon ryu
She was a top performer at amateur level, winning gold medals in the individual and team events at the 2006 Asian Games in Qatar. ROSLAN RAHMAN/AFP/Getty Images/file
One of Ryu's idols was Se Ri Pak, the first South Korean women's golfer to win a major title, claiming two in 1998. That year, aged 20, she was the youngest player to win the U.S. Women's Open. PAUL BUCK/AFP/Getty Images/file
Ryu was also inspired by "powerful and beautiful" compatriot Grace Park, who was the next Korean after Pak to win a major at the 2004 Kraft Nabisco Championship. Andrew Redington/Allsport/file
Koreans won six majors in the next six years, and have dominated women's golf in the past two seasons. Inbee Park has moved to the top of the world rankings after winning the first two majors of 2013, and she beat her friend Ryu in a playoff at the last event before the U.S. Open for her fifth victory this season. Scott Halleran/Getty Images/file