Sport Golf

Thursday 19 April 2018

Focus on wonder-kid Leona in Fota defence

Neil Ahern

TEENAGE wonder-kid Leona Maguire will defend her Irish Women's Close title today when the race for the most prestigious prize in Irish women's amateur golf tees off at Fota Island.

Leona (14) and her sister Lisa made last year's event one of the most memorable in history when the prodigious twins battled it out in the final at Westport, with Leona clinching victory on the 16th hole.

Leona (pictured) has gone from strength to strength since, winning every event she has entered in the 2009 season.

In late March, she captured the inaugural Woodenbridge Scratch Cup, followed by the French U-21 Championship at the start of April.

A week later, the prestigious Helen Holm Scottish Strokeplay Championship title followed, before the two girls helped Ulster to a fifth successive win in the Girls' Inter-provincials.

Lisa, meanwhile, has also made a solid start to the season with a third-place finish at the Helen Holm her best so far.

On the US Tour Mathias Gronberg led a Swedish charge at La Cantera as Justin Leonard maintained a share of his overnight lead in the Valero Texas Open yesterday.

Leonard, who began the day in San Antonio as a co-leader with fellow American Paul Goydos at seven-under par following a first-round 63, fired a two-under, second-round 68 to move to nine-under at the half-way mark.

He was joined there by Gronberg -- who had opened the day at four under and went one better with a round of 65 to take a share of the clubhouse lead -- and American Ted Purdy, who shot a 67.

Five days after Henrik Stenson won The Players Championship for Sweden, Fredrik Jacobson added to the Scandinavian momentum with a second-round 66 to keep him at eight under.

Seven Irish amateurs were among those kicking their heels yesterday as torrential rain washed out the first day's play in the Brabazon Trophy English Open Stroke-play championship at the historic Moortown Club in Leeds.

In the Challenge Tour's Allianz Open in Brittany, Alan Murray recorded a round of 72 to see his way into the weekend. John Kilpatrick also made it through.

Keith Nolan recorded one of the better rounds of the day in Nationwide Tour BMW Charity Pro-Am in south Carolina with a six-under-par 65. He is nine shots adrift of leader Jeff Gove.

in the women's european tour Deutsche Bank Swiss Open in Ticino, Tara Delaney was best of the Irish with second round of level par 73 for a 142 total, five shots behind leader Jenni Kuosa of Finland. Rebecca Coakley, Hazel Kavanagh and Martina Cullen all made it through to the weekend, with Claire Coughlan-Ryan the only one to miss the cut.

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