Ryu forces playoff at US Women’s Open

So Yeon Ryu pulled into a tie for the lead Monday at the U.S. Women’s Open and will head to a three-hole playoff with South Korean rival Hee Kyung Seo.

Ryu came to the course one shot behind Seo and made up the shot by hitting her approach on the par-4 18th to 6 feet and sinking the putt for birdie.

Ryu and Seo finished 72 holes at 3-under 281. Seo had finished her round Sunday night before darkness halted play.

Cristie Kerr came into the morning two shots behind but finished with two pars. Angela Stanford made birdie on 16 to get to 1 under and into contention, but she missed a 6-foot birdie putt on No. 17 and bogeyed 18 to finish at even.

The playoff will run through 16, 17 and 18, and whoever has the best total score over the three holes will become the fifth South Korean to take America’s national championship.

Ryu also had a chance for birdie on No. 17, but her 15-foot putt slid off the right edge at the last second.

The birdie on No. 18 was only the seventh of the fourth round and 26th of the tournament. The 18th hole is ranked as the most difficult on the 7,000-yard Broadmoor course, averaging nearly a half a stroke over par.

”I was really nervous there,” Ryu said. ”But I tried to imagine my line. I’m a really strong putter and I just trusted myself again.”

Seo had a chance to pick up the trophy without hitting a shot Monday. By the time Ryu was on the 17th green, however, Seo had moved to the driving range to warm up for the playoff.

”I slept well last night. I’m excited to be here,” Seo said before the playoff. ”I want to be here in this place.”