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Ireland’s Leona Maguire roars into contention at the British Open in Muirfield


Leona Maguire plays her tee shot from the 5th hole during Day Two of the AIG Women's Open at Muirfield

Leona Maguire plays her tee shot from the 5th hole during Day Two of the AIG Women's Open at Muirfield

Leona Maguire plays her tee shot from the 5th hole during Day Two of the AIG Women's Open at Muirfield

Leona Maguire admitted that her patience was key as she overcame some frustration and birdied three of her last five holes to move into contention for the AIG Womens' Open at Muirifeld.

The Co Cavan star carded a two-under 69 in challenging, breezy conditions to move up to tied 10th on two-under-par, just two shots behind clubhouse leaders Minjee Lee of Australia and Celine Boutier of France, who carded 70s to lead by a shot on four-under-par from American Marina Alex and South Korea’s Hye-jin Choi..

Japan's Hinako Shuibuno, who opened with a six-under 65, was among the afternoon starters and with the wind up again for the second day running, Maguire is well placed after mixing three bogeys with an eagle and three birdies.

"I felt like I played really well on the front nine, hit some nice shots, didn't hole the putts I would like and gave myself a lot of chances," said the world number 22, who bogeyed the short fourth but bounced back with an eagle three at the fifth.

She dropped further shots at the 11th and 13th but birdied the 14th, then made a 50-footer for birdie at the 15th before getting up and down from 40 yards for a birdie four at the 17th, where she brushed in a six-footer.

"I thought I hit a good shot on 11, got screwed in the bunker up the face and hit a couple of bad iron shots into the par-threes on four and 13 and dropped those shots, but I birdied 14 and 15, which are probably two of the hardest holes out there, so that was a nice boost heading into those last few holes.

"Three under for the last five is really good momentum heading into the weekend."

Maguire was hoping for a break with the weather in the morning, but a cool, strong breeze made for tough scoring.

"I would like to have got to about four or five under, but you have got to take your chances where they come," she said. "So I didn't take advantage of some of the easier holes and then birdied two of the hardest holes, so that's links golf.

"You really have to be patient and I felt like I did that today.

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"It would have been easy to get frustrated and finished a couple over, so I felt like I did that today and dug in for those last few. I hit it in a few bunkers today and they are very penal, so I will try to stay out of them for the weekend."

Maguire plays little links golf outside the AIG Women's Open and she's loving the challenge.

She said: "I love links golf. You have to be creative. There is no perfect shot. You can hit three clubs the same distance and you have to think that little bit more."

She reckons putting will ultimately decide the destiny of the final women's Major of the year.

"I hit five wood into 14 and 15, so you have to get your lag putting and get your speed really dialled in and it is tricky with the wind buffeting you.

"I felt like my lag putting was good today. It would have been nice to hole a few more putts on the front nine but I think that long I dropped on 15 made up for that."

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