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Ryann O’Toole looking for second LPGA victory at ISPS Handa

Ryann O’Toole looking for second LPGA victory at ISPS Handa

ANTRIM, Northern Ireland — Ryann O’Toole was born and raised in California and now resides in Arizona, but she sure appears to be at home when she heads across the pond.

The 36-year-old O’Toole joined the LPGA in 2011 and in her 11th season on the LPGA captured her first victory, the Trust Golf Women’s Scottish Open, by a three-stroke margin.

The former UCLA star is in position to add another title abroad after she opened with a pair of birdies on Saturday en route to a third-round 68 at the ISPS Handa World Invitational at Galgorm Castle Golf Club.

“Maybe I just like playing in the UK. Maybe that’s something I need to hone in on, figure out,” O’Toole joked after the round. “I mean, ever since the win in Scotland I’ve been trying to have it happen again. Tomorrow just go out and see what happens.”

Added consecutive birdies on Nos. 15 and 16 and came to the clubhouse with the lead at 4 under, although Gabrielle Cowley later posted a 67 to take a one-stroke edge heading into the final round.

As for O’Toole, she’s clearly been better in her last few outings as she followed five straight missed cuts with a pair of top-30 finishes at a pair of majors — the Amundi Evian Championship and the AIG British Women’s Open.

“I definitely feel like my game is trending. I noticed it the last couple weeks. Things are starting to fall into place, very consistent, things I’ve been working on,” she said. “Just getting the confidence up there … there is not a lot of erratic shots, so it’s been really good.”

Perhaps her finest moment of the tournament came on the 10th hole, when she put her second shot into a bush, and was forced to chip out. The shot ran through the green, but O’Toole responded by dropping the next chip in the hole.

“I would say that was the highlight birdie,” she said. “It was kind of nice just I felt like I got very unlucky to be in the bush, ball not in the bush, so one of those.”

While Galgorm Castle played difficult during the opening two rounds, a number of players took advantage of easier conditions on Saturday, including Esther Henseleit, who sits locked in second place with O’Toole after a 69 on Saturday.

But with 18 holes to play, O’Toole feels good about her chances to double her win total. The event, which is in its final…


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