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Ryu takes advantage of 'birthday gifts' from Ko

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KILDEER, Ill. – So Yeon Ryu’s 28th birthday was a lot more fun Friday with Lyda Ko dropping gifts all over the place.

“Today, Lydia made everything,” Ryu said of Ko’s hot putting. “So, she just made everything look really easier. So, I was like, `Well, if she can do that, maybe I should do that,’ and then I started to make birdies on the back nine.”

Ryu birdied three of the final five holes to post a 3-under-par 69, leaving her tied for the lead at 6 under overall with Brooke Henderson (71) and Sung Hyun Park (72) through the morning wave.

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After her round, fans at the 18th serenaded Ryu, singing “Happy Birthday” to her with LPGA staff bringing Ryu a candlelit birthday treat.

“I feel like I have two days of birthday,” Ryu said.

With her South Korean homeland 14 hours ahead of Chicago time, Ryu’s family back home recognized Thursday as her birthday. Ryu’s American friends recognized it Friday.

“It’s going to be a nice, quiet birthday celebration,” Ryu said.

Ryu said she is conserving her energy, with temperatures rising above 90 for a second straight day at Kemper Lakes. If Ryu wins this week, a double celebration might be in order Sunday. She would move back to Rolex world No. 1 with a victory, as long as current No. 1 Inbee Park finishes 12th or worse and No. 2 Ariya Jutanugarn finishes third or worse.