Leona Maguire produces late comeback to keep LPGA Match-Play hopes alive in Las Vegas
Leona Maguire put one foot in the last-16 of the Bank of Hope LPGA Match-Play with a comeback win over Korea’s Jenny Shin in Las Vegas.
The Co Cavan star tops her group with two wins after she fought back from four down after eight holes and one down with two to play to beat Shin 1-up with a par at the 18th.
“I didn't feel like I got off to that bad of a start,” said Maguire, who needs only a halved match with Korea’s Narin An today to progress to the last-16.
“Jenny just holed some nice putts, few birdies, and find myself 4-down after 8, which wasn't exactly an ideal position to be in.
“(My caddie) Dermot kept me patient. I just tried to keep hitting good shots. I made birdie on nine, which gave me a little momentum.
“Then I just tried to hang in, stay patient.”
Maguire won the 11th, 14th and 15th in par to square the match and while she lost the 16th to go one down, she got up and down from the front bunker for a winning par at the 17th before Shin handed her the match by three-putting the last.
“Had a couple really good up and downs on 13 and 14,” Leona explained. “Got lucky on 15. It bounced on the rocks and came out and got up and down.
“So I guess you need a little luck sometimes for results like that to go your way.”
As for the finish, she said: “I had a really nice up and down there (at 17). Jenny went over the back and didn't get up and down.
“Went to 18 all square. Hit a really nice drive and nice wedge to about ten feet.
“Jenny three-putted, so it didn't matter in the end, but it felt like I finished strong with some good momentum and hit some key shots when I really needed to.”
The 16 group winners will face off on Saturday morning before the quarter-finals in the afternoon and the semi-finals and final on Sunday.
“I feel like it can go either way,” Maguire said of the format and the difficulty of the course. “I think you can have some really big wins if someone is just on fire, and you don't have to miss very much to find yourself in trouble out here.
“But at the same time, you can have those big see-saw matches where someone's up, someone is down, you can make a comeback.
“It's match play. Anything can happen. It's just a case of staying patient and just, yeah, hitting the shots when you need to, holing a few putts at the right time.
“We were on the clock for a good bit of the back nine, so for me, I had to fight the urge not to walk faster and do everything faster.
“So Dermot was keeping me walking slow and extra drinks of water being so hot out here. I'd stand in the shade where possible.
“Yeah, it's a marathon week, it's not a sprint, so very much conserving energy at all costs.
“I think it's a great golf course. I said yesterday it's one of the best courses we play all year. A few people were out watching us today, which was nice.
“Yeah, hopefully, that builds over the next few days.
“I felt like I played better today, so hopefully, I'm working my way into it and enjoy another day out there tomorrow.
“I’ll just try and play as well as I possibly can. It's a tough golf course, so with the heat, you have to focus on yourself.
“I don't think you can waste any energy on anybody else or what they're doing.
“I’ll just try and play as well as I can, hit as many fairways as I can, and try and hole a few putts.”
In the KitchenAid PGA Senior Championship, Pádraig Harrington shot a bogey-free eight-under 64 for a two-shot lead over Japan’s Katsumasa Miyamoto at Fields Ranch East at PGA Frisco in Dallas.
Darren Clarke is tied for 12th after a 69, with Paul McGinley tied for 54th after a 73.
Meanwhile, England’s Harry Hall shot a career-low eight-under par 62 to claim the lead in the PGA Tour's Charles Schwab Challenge at Colonial Country Club in Forth Worth.
The Cornwall-born rookie (25) had just 22 putts as hebmade eight birdies in a bogey-free round to lead by three strokes from Harris English.
PGA Championship hero Michael Block ran out of steam and after playing his first ten holes in two-over, he made three bogeys and three doubles bogeys in his last eight holes to open with an 81.
“It is what it is,” the club professional said. “I'm going to live with it. I thought it was going to happen that third or fourth round last week at Oak Hill, and it never happened.
“It happened now, and I wasn't surprised by it, to tell you the truth.
“The experience I had that last week was next level. So today, coming out here and not having my game at all and having a lot of bad luck or whatever you might call it, just call it golf.
“It is what it is. At the same time, I sat there, and I thought about it, and I said, I'm going to see my boys tomorrow night.”