LONDON, Ontario (AP) — On the eve of the Canadian Pacific Women's Open, So Yeon Ryu, Na Yeon Choi and Inbee Park got together for dinner with some fellow South Korean golfers.
While Park picked up the tab after winning the LPGA Championship, all three benefited from the night out.
Ryu set a new course record with a 9-under 63, Choi was one shot behind her and Park three off the lead after the first round of the $2.25-million tournament at the London Hunt and Country Club. Traditional Korean food was on the menu, but Ryu credited the company, rather than the cuisine, for her strong start.
"We had a talk together to help us relax," Ryu said. "Sometimes when you're hanging out with really good friends, it can make you more relaxed and enjoy the golf. Today, I really enjoyed my golf. That comes from great friendship."
Ryu's 63 was one shy of the tournament record, and her 9-under-par tied the best mark, set in 2009 by Song-Hee Kim. The 24-year-old hit nine birdies and played a bogey-free round.
Choi chipped in three times during her morning round, and her 8 under looked like it would stand up until Ryu got hot on the back nine. Choi knew she chipped in twice from inside of 10 yards and once from a bunker 25 yards away but had to check her scorecard to figure out how many birdies she hit.
"I felt good about my game, but I didn't really realize I had five birdies in a row," Choi said. "I didn't really think about I want to birdie every hole."
Choi credits Canadian manager Greg Morrison for her love of and strong play in Canada. Her career-best round of 62 came in last year's Manulife Financial LPGA at the Grey Silo Golf Course in Waterloo, Ontario.
When Ryu saw Choi's score before she teed off, she thought 3 under would be a realistic goal for her.
"But I shot 9 under, so I'm more happy," Ryu said with a smile.
Swede Anna Nordqvist, who was playing with and pushed along by Ryu, was alone in third at 7 under.
Continue reading this story on the...