The incumbent No. 1 ranked player and the current money leader Ryu So-yeon turned pro in 2007, and earned her first professional win in the following year.
In 2011, Ryu—having ranked top 5 in the LPGA of Korea Tour in the previous year—was invited to participate in the U.S. Women’s Open. On the 18th hole of the final round, the toughest hole for the tournament, she trailed the clubhouse leader Hee-kyung Seo by one stroke, but hit her approach to 6 feet and made the birdie putt to force a playoff.
Eventually, she won the three-hole playoff by three strokes, becoming the fifth Korean to win the U.S. Women’s Open, and also the first to clinch LPGA Tour berth by winning the U.S. Women’s Open.
As the winner of this year’s ANA Inspiration and Walmart NW Arkansas Championship, Ryu’s success this season came after a long championship drought since the 2014 Canadian Women’s Open. But since ending the drought in early April, Ryu has come all the way to reaching world No. 1 ranking, displaying her world class skills along the way.
From a winning perspective, Ryu might not be a noteworthy star, as she has only accumulated 3 wins since her 2011 victory at the U.S. Women’s Open. Her 4 total career wins are even less than Thai star player Ariya Jutanugarn’s wins in last season alone.
However, Ryu is one of the most consistent players in the LPGA Tour, having averaged more than 12 top-ten finishes per season in the past five years. Moreover, the 27-year-old Ryu hasn’t tasted elimination since the 2014 Reignwood LPGA Classic, while finishing top-ten for an astonishing 30 times during that span.
Having only managed a tied-35th place last year, Ryu will participate in this year’s Swinging Skirts LPGA Classic as the No. 1 ranked player, and she surely will face strong competitions, including two-time champion Lydia Ko. Would she be able to continue her impressive run, and display her No. 1 ranking skills? There is only one way to find out!