She might not have brought her A-game to the first round at Co. Clare But Leona Maguire brought in just enough to suggest she would be in the mix for the KPMG Women’s Championship title at the Irish Open on Sunday night.
Maguire, 27, gave the Women’s European Tour and other tournament stakeholders exactly what this event needed as the National Open came out of hibernation yesterday for the first time in a decade. The Irish star, who this season won her first LPGA Tour title and her best result yet in a major at the AIG Women’s British Open last month, has not shown herself best prepared to match her commitment to the Irish Open all over again with sparkling play. . She had made it home with a jet lag due to a lost cut in Portland, Oregon, and had a fourth start in several weeks.
Indeed, there was no ghost on the opening hole that, after a miscalculation, inspires confidence that the festive nature of the event’s first revamp since Scotsman Catriona Matthew’s victory at Killeen Castle in 2012 could be matched by a home winner a decade later.
Nevertheless, Maguire dug deep into Dromoland where the sun’s rays replaced the afternoon rain clouds, and though another ghost at quadruple, the birds sent her into the third, sixth, seventh and eighth holes at twice the lower than 33 before three birds passed . Her last four holes of the day made five under 67.
Golfer Cavan will begin her second round at 8:30 a.m. on Friday after just three strokes behind Sweden’s Lena Bockvist, who scored the lowest turn of her career on the LET, at the age of seven under 65 to take the lead overnight alongside Alexandra. Swain from Virgin America. Carrots.
There was still work to be done last night as Maguire hinted at a long-range shot session with her driver but there were no such obsessions with the Irish racket yesterday.
“I didn’t get my best out of it today, but you can always save it when you hit the ball well and I’ll level the drive this evening and be back again tomorrow,” said Maguire, 67 years later.
“There’s a good mix of holes there, some really good opportunities. It’s a little shorter than what we play on the LPGA, they moved some tee boxes around which was a bit surprising but you have to deal with whatever is in front of you whether it’s the weather or a different golf course, So just enjoy it as much as you can.
“Golf is all about momentum, it doesn’t take much to jump here or there and put the hitting throw here or there, so it’s been nice to get three birds in a row on the front nine and hopefully keep the putter warm for the rest of the week.
“The Greens rolled really well considering all the rain and the afternoon tee time, so I rolled it really well today, took advantage of the shorter holes and you really have to take advantage of those nice next few to sparrow three of the last four games and give some momentum to go into tomorrow.”
The last bird of the day was expertly built on the 15th floor in front of the castle. Maguire hit three woods from a tee and five hybrids from 182 yards to give the Eagle a chance but was more than happy in the scheme of things to take one less shot.
“They moved on that way,” she said. “Very different angle from the tee, so he trusted the yardage book and Dermot’s line on the tee shot that we could go way more right than we were.
“The kind of hole you have to take advantage of, it would have been nice to get the eagle but we’re going to take a bird.
“I feel good, shooting on an equal footing, trying to do my best this week, going to bed early trying to get up early but I’m still not sure what time or where I am but we’ll be good for the weekend.”
While her encouraging start has already raised expectations that she could emulate Padraig Harrington in 2007, Shane Lowry in 2009, and Rory McIlroy in 2016 by landing at the Irish Open, Maguire was more circumspect after just 18 holes than she hoped to be. 72- Try to pit home success.
“Winning your national slot is a huge honour. Maybe a little under the majors I’d say. Rory did it, Shane did it, Padrej did it, so it would be nice to give the home fans something to cheer on Sunday, but there’s still a long way to go.”