In her final Ladies European Tour appearance of the season, Leona Maguire carded a one-over par round of 73 on day one of the Open de Espana.
Maguire arrived to the Costa del Sol for a first appearance since earning her promotion to the LPGA Tour via the Symetra Tour’s Order of Merit and showed understandable signs of rustiness in trading four bogeys with three birdies for a plus-one total.
The Cavan professional, who will begin her new season in Australia once again at the ISPS Handa Vic Open in February, trails Olivia Cowan by eight strokes heading into day two after the German posted a seven-under par round of 65 to set the standard in Andalucia.
It’s just Maguire’s sixth appearance on the Ladies European Tour this season having competed mainly on the Symetra circuit across the Atlantic. The two-time winner on the Symetra will turn 25 on Saturday and hope to move into contention at the €300,000 event ahead of Sunday’s final round.
That may sound an enticing number but for where Maguire’s headed in the game of golf – the LPGA Tour – her ascension into the top tier of the women’s game could not have been better timed given the record prize pots up for grabs next season.
$75 million will be on the table next year – up by $5 million on this year’s tally – with Maguire, along with her LPGA Tour compatriot, Stephanie Meadow set to benefit from an extremely exciting era for women’s golf as the game’s governing bodies continue to try to plug the gender gap in the sport.
“I could not be more excited about what the future will bring for the LPGA Tour and the sponsors that support us,” said LPGA commissioner Mike Whan upon announcing the prize money.
“That number is a testament to the support we are receiving from sponsors and industry partners around the globe.”
Full Spanish Open scoring HERE