Both Leona Maguire and Stephanie Meadow find themselves onlpgalpga the projected cut mark of plus-two after a difficult opening day at the LPGA Drive On Championship – Reynolds Lake Oconee.
Starting on the back nine, Cavan professional Maguire traded a bogey and birdie to be even par at the turn but dropped two more shots on the way home to sign for a two-over par round of 74.
At tied-70th, Maguire is alongside Olympic teammate Meadow who was one-under par through 14 holes after trading three birdies with two birdies to that point.
It wasn’t the finish the Jordanstown professional was after, however, with a bogey on 15 followed by a double at the par-3 17th with Meadow also signing for 74 after a round where she only needed 26 putts compared to Maguire’s 30.
With the Irish pair out in the morning, the good scores on day one at the Great Waters course came in the afternoon, as five-time LPGA Tour winner Danielle Kang and Jennifer Song fired seven-under par rounds of 65 to lead overnight.
Kang’s bogey-free 65 is her lowest 18-hole score since she recorded her last 65 in the final round of the Cambia Portland Classic.
Song, starting off No. 10, got out to a hot start Thursday with four consecutive birdies on Nos. 12-15 with another on No. 18. Her front-nine 31 ties her season-best nine-hole score, as she went to fight through one bogey on No. 5 and add three more bogeys to end day one tied for the lead.
“I feel great. This course is really tough and in the afternoon the greens got really crusty, so there was a lot of calculation,” said Song, who hit 14 of 14 fairways and 18 of 18 greens.
“The wind picked up a little bit so it was kind of confusing, but I managed it pretty well. I’m really happy about 7-under par today. I didn’t think that was possible to shoot that score out there, but I had a great round.”
“For the rest of the tournament I just want to keep doing what I’m doing,” added Song. “I want to play great rounds the next three rounds, but I’m not going to change anything. Just stay positive and just keep one shot at a time and I think everything will be handled.”
Winner of the Tour’s inaugural LPGA Drive On Championship in late July, Rolex Rankings No. 5 Danielle Kang is at the top of leaderboard once again after a first-round 65.
The only player to have won twice this season, there is no question that the 28-year-old, who celebrated her birthday on Monday, has been grinding, especially on the putting green.
“Recently just like my friends have been helping me out with my putting and I saw another putting coach, so I think having putts drop for me just kept me going and kept the good feel — I don’t know,” said Kang. “I’m trying. I’m trying.”
Full scoring HERE