So Yeon Ryu admitted that sometimes she spends too much time thinking about her golf swing and not simply allowing the swing process to flow.
It took Ryu a while to get the rhythm of her swing down Friday in the first round of the ShopRite LPGA Classic at Seaview’s Bay Course in Galloway, N.J. But once she did, the two-time major champion went on a seven-hole tear that propelled her into a share of the lead with a 6-under-par 65.
Ryu was joined later in the afternoon at the top of the leaderboard by Jodi Ewart Shadoff, who went the entire day without a bogey and birdied her final hole.
It was a great day for scoring over the short but tricky 6,100-yard Bay layout, with birdies plentiful for many of the 132 contestants competing under brilliant sunshine with a light breeze for most of the day. Eighteen players finished the day either one or two strokes behind the co-leaders.
Eight were at 66, including Jin Young Ko, who at No. 2 is the highest-ranked player in the world competing. She was joined by, among others, seven-time major champion Inbee Park, Brooke Henderson, the world’s No. 11-ranked player, and European Solheim Cup teammates Nanna Koerstz Madsen, Celine Boutier and Matilda Castren.
Ten more finished at 67, led by former ShopRite LPGA champion Brittany Lincicome; Yuka Saso, winner of last June’s U.S. Women’s Open, and Leona Maguire, another member of Europe’s winning Solheim Cup team.
Ryu, 31, of the Republic of Korea, was 1-under par through 11 holes starting on the back nine, but she eagled the par-5 third hole and finished her rounds with birdies at the seventh, eighth and ninth to break out of a logjam at 5-under.
“I think sometimes I’m too addicted to the golf swing,” she said. “I really try hard to just think about how I’m going to be playing instead of just how I’m swinging. I think that’s the thing I really struggle [with] on the golf course.
“I guess I was thinking about the swing a little bit too much and I just only realized I had five holes to go. So I just told myself, ‘So Yeon, let’s just focus on how I’m playing instead of the swing.’ I think that one really helped me out.”
Shadoff, 33, of England, is in her 10th year on the LPGA Tour but is still looking for her first victory. She came to Seaview having missed her last five cuts and nine of her last 11. She gained momentum early in her round with an eagle at the par-5 third hole and went on to birdie the fifth, ninth, 10th and 18th.
Seventeen-year-old amateur Megha Ganne of Holmdel, N.J., who tied for 14th overall and won low amateur honors at June’s U.S. Women’s Open, shot a 70. Brynn Walker, a former Radnor High School and North Carolina standout who has turned professional, carded a 78.