Thursday 23 May 2019

Leona Maguire gets professional career off to impressive start

Leona Maguire. Photo: PA
Leona Maguire. Photo: PA
Dustin Johnson blasted a seven-under 63 in the FedEx St Jude Classic in Memphis. Photo: Richard Sellers/PA

Brian Keogh

Leona Maguire got her professional career off to an impressive start when she defied gusting winds to open with a two-under 69 in the ShopRite LPGA Classic.

The Co Cavan star (23) finished the day tied just three shots behind American Laura Diaz after getting the tough side of the draw.

Twin sister Lisa shot an 84 early in the day, tangling too often with the deep fescue rough that lines otherwise generous fairways the Stockton Seaview Hotel and Golf Club's Bay Course near Atlantic City. But Leona was still disappointed to play the par-fives in level par and hopes to take full advantage of calmer conditions today.

"I left quite a few out there, but these greens get bumpy in the afternoon," said the former world amateur No 1. "I played steady and did what I wanted to do which was hit a lot of greens and a lot of fairways and give myself a lot of chances.

"Hopefully I can do the same tomorrow and hole a few more putts and we will be laughing."

Starting on the back nine, she got off to a solid starting, ripping a drive straight down the middle before spinning a wedge back to seven feet and rolling in for birdie.

Hitting the ball superbly from tee to green, she parred the next five holes before moving to two-under with a 30 footer at the 16th.

She was disappointed to bogey the par-five 18th when she spun her approach off the front and failed to get up and down. But she saved a great par at the second, birdied the par-five third to get back to two-under and was left to rue a missed birdie chance from just four feet at the seventh.

At the FedEx St Jude Classic on the PGA Tour, overnight leader Seamus Power was still within striking distance of the lead despite finishing with a double bogey six on his final hole. Power's second round of one-under 69 left him on six-under par, four shots off Dustin Johnson's lead at TPC Southwind in Memphis. He had been one off the lead before a bogey on his 15th hole disrupted his momemtum.

Padraig Harrington (E) and Shane Lowry (-1) will also be in action for the weekend after second rounds of 72 and 67 respectively.

On the European Tour, Derry's Ruaidhri McGee was the only Irishman to make the cut in the innovative Shot Clock Masters in Austria. The Challenge Tour regular finished with eight straight pars for his second 73 on the trot to make the cut on the two-over-par limit.

Holywood Golf Club amateur Tom McKibbin (15) missed out by three shots after a 78 with Gavin Moynihan a shot further back after a forgettable 79. As Nico Geyger, Henric Sturehed and Kristian Krogh Johannessen recorded the fastest round for the second day in succession - just three hours and 47 minutes -Finland's Mikko Korhonen shot a bogey-free 67 to lead by a shot on nine-under-par.

At the Challenge Tour's KPMG Trophy in Belgium, Cormac Sharvin shot a four-under 67 to lie eight shots behind leaders David Law and Stuart Manley on five-under. Tullamore's Stuart Grehan is a shot further back after an eagle at his 16th helped him shoot a second 69 to make the cut on the mark.

  • Shot Clock Masters: Sky Sports 12.30
  • FedEx St Jude Classic: Sky Sports 7.30pm

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