It didn’t take Leona Maguire long to make her mark on the LPGA Tour. After missing out on the weekend cut at her first event in Boca Rio a fortnight ago, the Cavan professional travelled to Australia with confidence after improving 12 shots from rounds one and two at the Gainbridge LPGA, where a second round 67 proved her game was ready to take on the women’s best.
In Victoria, at the ISPS Handa Vic Open, where the stars of the women’s game compete alongside the men of the European Tour for equal pay and opportunity, Maguire delivered a stunning performance in just her second event in her rookie season on Tour.
Embracing the windy conditions swirling around the Beach Course at 13th Beach Club, the Cavan professional fired five birdies – including a bounce-back birdie at the last having dropped a shot at her penultimate hole – in a two-under par round of 70 that so nearly elevated the former world number one into a playoff.
In the end, her seven-under par tally fell one shot shy but just like she did last year on the Symetra, Maguire has hit the ground running on the LPGA Tour and collected a cheque worth $52,861 ahead of returning to the fairways at next week’s Australian Women’s Open.
“I’m delighted with a top-5 finish this week,” said Maguire. “I felt comfortable with my game all week and I always enjoy playing golf in Australia – it’s a country I love.
“It’s great to have had so many messages of support coming through from home too. We’ll enjoy this and look forward to the Australian Open now this week in Adelaide.”
Meanwhile Stephanie Meadow couldn’t quite match her compatriot’s scoring but the Jordanstown professional still banked a top-20 finish as she looks to lay down foundations for a solid year.
In the end, Meadow signed for a four-over par round of 76 for a two-under par tournament tally that saw her collect $12,458 and a bucket full of confidence so early in the season.
At the top, Hee Young Park came through an all-South Korean three-way playoff to score victory at the event and collect the $165,000 first prize cheque.
Full scoring HERE