Monday 26 September 2016

Maguire upbeat despite slow start in Rio

Brian Keogh

Published 18/08/2016 | 02:30

Leona Maguire. Picture credit: Paul Mohan/Sportsfile
Leona Maguire. Picture credit: Paul Mohan/Sportsfile

World amateur No 1 Leona Maguire opened with a three over 74 in the Women's Individual Strokeplay at the Olympic Games but refused to blame being put on the clock in a slow opening group in Rio de Janeiro.

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As Irish team-mate Stephanie Meadow struggled to a six-over 77 that left her tied 51st in the 60-strong field, 12 strokes off the lead, Maguire went off in the first group with Brazil's Miriam Nagl and Malaysia's Kelly Tan and it was evident after just three holes that they were far too slow.

The threeball took an hour to play the first three holes and while Maguire started birdie-bogey-par, her partners had problems and the group was put on the clock.

The Duke University star dropped another shot at the sixth and then racked up a double bogey seven at the par-five 10th before following a bogey at the 15th with a tap in birdie at the 16th for her 74 and a share of 44th.

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Nine strokes behind world No 2 Ariya Jutanugarn of Thailand, who fired a six-under 65 to lead by one from South Korea's Inbee Park and Seiyoung Kim, the Co Cavan star was not downcast at all.

"I've not had too many expectations," she said on a day when groups took five and a half hours to get around. "I'm just trying to play as well as I can and see what happens.

"I would have liked to have played a bit better today but I just didn't hole enough putts. I had a lot of chances. I hit a lot of really good shots, exactly where I wanted to hit. I had a bad hole on 10, but apart from that, I played really solid all day."

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Asked if she felt under pressure to match the feats of Seamus Power or Pádraig Harrington, who challenged for the medals in the men's competition, Maguire said the pressure was for the professionals in action.

"No, I think for me, the best players in the world are here, that's their job," she said. "That's not my job this week. I'm just out there to have as much fun as I can and do as well as I can."

Irish Independent

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