Leona Maguire carded a hard-fought one-under par round of 70 around Old American Golf Club to move inside the top-30 ahead of the final round of the Volunteers of America Classic.
The Cavan professional recovered from a double-bogey ‘5’ at her second hole of the day, the par-3 eleventh, with three birdies in succession from the 16th tee moving her under-par for the day and making the turn at three-over for the tournament. Try as she might, she couldn’t make any more indents on the leaderboard, however, with a stunning eagle sandwiched between two bogeys in a homeward half of 35. At plus-three for the tournament, she shares 30th place ahead of the final day after another superb putting performance for Maguire who averaged 225 yards off the tee in cool Texas conditions but needed just 26 swipes of the short blade on Saturday.
By comparison, Stephanie Meadow averaged 265 yards from the tee but needed 32 putts in her three-over par round of 74. Also starting on the back nine, the Jordanstown professional made the turn in even par before four bogeys in five holes saw her drop down the board to a share of 68th at nine-over par.
At the head of affairs, Yealimi Noh closed with a double bogey on Saturday, dropping the 19-year-old American into a tie with major champions Inbee Park and So Yeon Ryu with a round to go. Two strokes ahead after a birdie on the par-5 17th, Noh took two shots to get out of the right fairway bunker on the par-4 18th and missed a 3-foot bogey putt. She settled for an even-par 71 and a share of the lead with the South Korean stars at four-under 209 at Old American Golf Club.
“As soon as I finish, I wanted to see the leaderboard and to see that I’m playing with those two tomorrow,” said Noh, the 2018 U.S. Girls’ Junior winner. “I’m really, really excited. Actually in the beginning of the week I was talking to my parents about Inbee and So Yeon and how I really wanted to play with them and see just how good they are and be light there next to them. So I’m excited for tomorrow.”
Ryu birdied five of the first eight holes in a bogey-free 65, the best round of the event that start Thursday in freezing temperatures. Preparing for the U.S. Women’s Open next week at Champions Golf Club in Houston, she’s playing her first U.S. event on the LPGA Tour since the season-ending tournament last year.
“I have no complaints about my ball-striking today,” Ryu said. “I hit 17 greens, I believe, and then I made so many birdie chances. I wish I could have made more putts on the back nine.”
Top-ranked Jin Young Ko (70) was a stroke back with Jessica Korda (72), Charley Hull (68), Kristen Gillman (66), Nasa Hataoka (69), Angela Stanford (70) and Pornanong Phatlum (71).
- Full scoring HERE