So Yeon Ryu on the upswing at 2021 ShopRite LPGA as she works on her downswing
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So Yeon Ryu on the upswing at 2021 ShopRite LPGA as she works on her downswing

GALLOWAY, N.J. -- So Yeon Ryu took the early lead on Friday in the first round of the 2021 ShopRite LPGA Classic at Seaview Resort in Galloway, N.J., shooting a 6-under 65.

It didn't come easy for the former US Women's Open champion, as she's been trying to integrate an improved downswing and occasionally finds herself dwelling on her mechanics instead of next-level scoring.

"I really try hard to just think about how I'm going to play instead of just how I'm swinging," Ryu said after the round. "So I think that's the thing I really struggle with on the golf course, and that's the focus on the golf course.

"But I guess I was think about the swing a little bit too much, and I just only realize it just five holes to go. So I just told myself, 'So Yeon, let's just focus on how I'm playing instead of swing. I think that one really help me out.'"

Making eagle on the par-5 third hole, her 12th of the day, may well have snapped her out of it.

"To be honest, the eagle putt I think was a little bit too much speed, but I was able to hit it just center of the cup so I was able to make an eagle, and that one really picks me up," she said.

When she's able to play freely and block out those mechanical thoughts, Ryu said she can focus more of the finer points of playing golf.

"I think imagination is most important stuff. Imagine the ball flying," she said. "And then I think commitment. I think when I'm pretty feel comfortable with the swing, when I feel pretty comfortable with the technique, I'm able to be committed my shot all the time.

"But when I'm not feel comfortable with it I'm just sort of not myself. Like am I really able to hit 145 with my 8-iron. I start questioning myself."

Coming off a final-round 62 in the Walmart NW Arkansas Championship and a great start here, Ryu might not seem like a player searching for answers. But she said she found something coming down the stretch, and that could portend a big weekend.

"I felt like I found something the last three holes," she said. "So hopefully that will be really helpful and hit it a little straighter or next two days."


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Ryan Ballengee

Ryan Ballengee is founder and editor of Golf News Net. He has been writing and broadcasting about golf for over a decade, working for NBC Sports, Golf Channel, Yahoo Sports and SB Nation. Ballengee lives in the Washington, D.C. area with his family. He used to be a good golfer.

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