2011 champion So Yeon Ryu accepts special exemption for U.S. Women’s Open at Pebble Beach

The USGA announced that So Yeon Ryu has accepted a special exemption for the 78th U.S. Women’s Open July 6-9, 2023, at Pebble Beach Golf Links. Ryu won the 2011 Women’s Open at The Broadmoor East Course in Colorado Springs, Colorado, in a three-hole aggregate playoff over fellow South Korean Hee Hyung Seo.

Ryu, 32, has a sneaky impressive record in the championship. She notched six top-five finishes at the Women’s Open from 2011 to 2019, taking a share of second in ’19 at the Country Club of Charleston in Charleston, South Carolina. Ryu has posted 17 rounds under par in her 13 starts, a statistic bested by only two players since 2000: two-time champion Inbee Park and Stacy Lewis.

“I am excited and honored to accept this special exemption into the U.S. Women’s Open,” said Ryu in a statement. “This championship means so much to me, and to be able to compete in it again, and to do so at a place as special as Pebble Beach, is thrilling, and I am so grateful to the USGA for this opportunity. I look forward to teeing it up there in July.”

A two-time major champion, Ryu has won six times on the LPGA and 10 times on the Korean LPGA, her most recently victory coming at the 2020 Korea Women’s Open. She’s also a past champion of the Japan Women’s Open. Ryu is currently No. 112 in the world.

The 2012 LPGA Rookie of the Year, Ryu earned LPGA Player of the Year honors in 2017. She was ranked No. 1 in the world for a total of 19 weeks from June to November 2017.

Ryu joins three-time champion Annika Sorenstam as recipients of special exemptions into this year’s field. They are among 87 players who are currently fully exempt. Qualifying for this year’s championship begins May 9 at two sites.

Story originally appeared on GolfWeek