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Leona Maguire happy with opening 71 at Muirfield

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Leona Maguire tees off on the third hole during Day One of the AIG Women's Open at Muirfield. Photo by Octavio Passos/Getty Images

Leona Maguire tees off on the third hole during Day One of the AIG Women's Open at Muirfield. Photo by Octavio Passos/Getty Images

Leona Maguire tees off on the third hole during Day One of the AIG Women's Open at Muirfield. Photo by Octavio Passos/Getty Images

Leona Maguire shrugged off two late three-putts as a grinding level-par 71 left her right in the hunt for the AIG Women’s Open at windy Muirfield.

The world No 22 had to deal with the tougher afternoon conditions and while she made three birdies and a bogey in her first 10 holes to move briefly into the top 10, three-putt bogeys at the 12th and 15th left her tied for 26th, six behind 2019 champion Hinako Shibuno of Japan but just two shots outside the top 10.

“I think it was a pretty steady round,” said the Co Cavan star, who hit a five-wood to six feet at the first to open with a birdie before cancelling out a bogey at the fourth with a birdie four at the fifth and another from 15 feet at the 10th.

“Hit a lot of greens and a lot of fairways, so it wasn’t easy, could have squeezed another few shots. Those two three-putts were a little disappointing, but other than that, it was a pretty solid round to start.”

Shibuno took advantage of easier morning conditions by mixing two bogeys with eight birdies to lead by one stroke from American Jessica Korda with Scotland’s Louise Duncan tied third with Mexico’s Gaby Lopez after a 67.

Stephanie Meadow struggled in the afternoon winds and racked up five bogeys in a five-over-par 76 that left her tied for 103th with world No 1 Jin Young Ko, who also played in the more demanding conditions.

“It was tricky,” Maguire said of putting in the breeze. “I think I stayed pretty patient, committed to my targets and didn’t try and force it too much.

“I drove it pretty nicely as well and didn’t let my ball get too controlled by the wind. It is a solid round. Level-par around here in those conditions, I am very happy.

“A lot of the better scores have come from the morning as is usual on a links. It was nice to get around in level-par and, hopefully, I can go out when it’s a little calmer in the morning and try and post a number.”

In R&A Women’s and Men’s Home Internationals, Ireland beat Wales 13.5-7.5 at Ballyliffin Old and will battle England, 12-9 winners over Scotland, for the title today. In the Boys’ and Girls’ Matches at Downfield, England beat Scotland 17-4 to take the title as Ireland beat Wales 12.5-8.5 to finish second.

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Women’s Open, 11.0am
Cazoo Open, 2.30pm
Wyndham Championship, 8.0pm

(All live on Sky Sports)


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