COLORADO SPRINGS, CO—When all was said and done, it was only appropriate that one of the longest weeks in U.S. Women's Open history got a bit longer.
Daily weather delays led to a frustrating stop and start style of play—and thus a Monday finish as 30 golfers had to complete their final round at 8 a.m. on the tournament's fifth day.
So Yeon Ryu birdied the 18th hole in dramatic fashion, tying leader in the clubhouse Hee Kyung Seo to force a three-hole aggregate playoff between the two Korean players to decide the 2011 U.S. Women's Open at The Broadmoor's East Course.
After both players parred the first playoff hole, Ryu opened a two shot lead with a birdie on No. 17. Seo found the right fairway bunker on the par five hole and could only manage a bogey. It was enough cushion to give Ryu the victory but she birdied the final playoff hole as well and captured the championship in the 66th playing of the U.S. Women's Open.
In her victory presser afterward, Ryu credited one of her idols with the inspiration she needed to win.
"When I started to play golf, Se Ri Pak won the U.S. Women's Open tournament," she said in her post-tournament presser. "So this is really special for me. I won this tournament and I'm really happy. It's unbelievable."
For Seo, she saw her overnight lead slip away. But she was optimistic in defeat.
"I learned lots of things from this tournament," she admitted in her presser afterward. "I'm looking forward to the next great events in Europe and Asia. So I'll keep working."
Both Ryu and Seo finished with impressive four day totals of 281. They were two of only three players under par for the tournament.
The other was Cristie Kerr who finished in third place with rounds of 71-72-69-71 for a one-under-par total.
Angela Stanford was a shot back in fourth place with an even par total of 284.
Defending champion Paula Creamer was in contention after two rounds, but closed with scores of 73-75 to finish in a tie for 15th place.