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So Yeon Ryu signs on to play 2018 ISPS Handa Women's Australian Open in Adelaide


A love of Vegemite has helped attract World No.3 golfer So Yeon Ryu Down Under for the 2018 ISPS Handa Women’s Australian Open to be played in Adelaide early next year.

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The South Korean 27-year-old will join a world-class field at the Kooyonga Golf Club in the South Australian capital for the LPGA event from February 15-18

The event will be the second tournament of the 34-event LPGA season following the Pure-Silk Bahamas LPGA Classic from January 25-28

So Yeon Ryu, 27, is a 5-times LPGA winner and spent 19 weeks at No.1 in the world rankings this year before finishing the season at No.3.

The South Korean is no stranger to Australia and has an Aussie coach, caddy and physiotherapist. She also finished in a tie for second at the 2012 Australian Open after losing out in a six-way playoff to Jessica Korda.

“I last played in Adelaide as an amateur and I remember how great the courses were back then and the fun we had in the city,” Ryu said.

“I have always thought Australian courses suit the way I play and I’ve heard a lot about Kooyonga from my Aussie team and I’m looking forward to coming back to play it in February.

“Somehow I’ve surrounded myself with Australians and the country is an integral part of my life and game. It doesn’t make sense that I haven’t been to the Open for a couple of years and I’m excited to be back.”

Ryu said she had loved Vegemite since a friend convinced her to try the brown spread by telling her it was an Australian version of Nutella.

“I tried it and he was expecting me to have an ugly face because of the unique taste but I loved it,” she said.

“I miss Australia so much, I miss Vegemite and all the great foods and golf courses in Australia and great friends and of course kangaroos as well,” she said.

Ryu is the second big name South Korean player to be confirmed for the February 15-18 event.

Tournament organisers announced in August that Ha Na Jang would return to South Australia to defend the Australian Open title she won at Royal Adelaide Golf Club this year.

An amazing finish including three birdies and an eagle in her final six holes landed Jang the Australian Open title in February, which she celebrated by eating a traditional Australian meat pie.

The Kooyonga event will be the third consecutive year Adelaide has hosted the tournament following successful weeks at nearby courses The Grange and Royal Adelaide.

Tournament director Trevor Herden was delighted to have Ryu show her affinity for the city and tournament.

“So Yeon has had a fantastic season on the LPGA Tour, including winning her second major championship, so it’s brilliant to have her commit to South Australian golf’s showpiece,” Herden said.

“The tournament and crowds have a great connection with Korean players, they’ve consistently been a force in recent years and we’re sure So Yeon will be right in that conversation at Kooyonga.”

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