The Republic of Korea’s Hae Ran Ryu got off to a fast start in the first round of the Cognizant Founders Cup, carding a 5-under 67 that saw her make eight birdies and three bogeys on Thursday at Upper Montclair Country Club. Ryu went birdie-bogey-birdie on her first three holes, and then grabbed another birdie on the par-4 fifth to get to 2-under. She parred the next and made birdie on the par-4 7th to move to 3-under, but a bogey on the ninth hole erased that effort. Turning in 34, Ryu parred the 10th hole and dropped another shot with a bogey on the 11th, now 1-under on the day. She regained her footing with a birdie on the par-5 12th and then made three consecutive birdies on holes 13, 14 and 15, parring in to post a 67, tying her lowest second-lowest first-round score which she last shot at the JM Eagle LA Championship presented by Plastpro.
“The first round I was a little bit worried when I started because fairway is really narrow here, but I think I change my mind, use the rough as comfort as possible, so after that my score is getting better,” said Ryu. “On 12, I got a birdie, and after that I make four in a row birdies. Before I was a little bit struggling, but then I got a birdie on the 12th and then I'm making my good mood.”
In just five starts this season, the 2023 LPGA Tour rookie hasn’t missed a single cut, recording two top-10 finishes, a tie for seventh at the LPGA Drive On Championship at Superstition Mountain and a tie for sixth at the JM Eagle LA Championship. She also finished in the top 20 at the DIO Implant LA Open, earning a T18 result after scores of 74-70-66-69. Getting comfortable playing with the world’s best can sometimes present a challenge for those in their first year on the LPGA Tour, but for Ryu, a seasoned five-time winner on the KLPGA Tour, the transition has gone smoothly with her confidence growing as the season progresses on.
“At the very first time I have really low confidence and I'm always draw a question mark myself, I can do my best or I can do it well,” Ryu said. “But after the tournaments and after the rounds I'm getting more confidence on the tour, and I'm really doing well I think.”