Stress free Maguire eases into the weekend of the opening LPGA event of the season

Peter Finnan

Leona Maguire (Photo by Andrew Redington/R&A/R&A via Getty Images)

Leona Maguire sailed into the weekend of the opening event on the 2021 LPGA Tour, the Gainbridge at Lake Nona Golf & Country Club.

The Slieve Russell professional carded a second round 72 to add to her opening 69 leaving her on a three-under-par halfway total in a tie for 32nd.

“Yeah, to get off to a nice start of the year is always good and first weekend of the year pretty stress-free, which is nice.” Said Maguire after her round.

Annika Sorenstam also made the cut teeing it up for the first time on the LPGA Tour since the 2008 ADT Championship and Leona is just happy to be playing in the same event as one of her childhood hero’s.

“Yeah, it’s really cool. I think there has been a great buzz that she’s back. She was living on the 16 tee box. It was a little bit of a no-brainer for her.”

Like Annika, Leona is also a member at Lake Nona after she joined last year to use the Florida course as a base for her practice while stateside. Maguire was only too happy to join Annika in preparing for the season opener during the build-up last week.

“Yeah, I was fortunate enough to play a few times with her leading up to the tournament and seeing her prepare and get ready again and how excited she was to play as well, which was great to see.”

“Never thought I would have the opportunity to play in the same event as her. Grew up obviously watching her, and her rookie year was the year I was born. So, yeah, I mean, it’s great to have her back.”

Sorenstam finished her round and was surrounded by her family after signing her scorecard, emphasizing how proud they were of the way she played. Sorenstam was planning on taking daughter Ava to volleyball on Saturday, but laughed she’ll have to find a new partner now.

“It’s just a bonus. It really is. There is nothing you can do at this point. I’m going to grab a nice lunch and hang out with some friends and family and we’ll see happens,” said Sorenstam. “It’s been a lot of energy put into these two days, so hopefully get a good night’s rest and see what happens tomorrow.”

At the top Lydia Ko, also a Nona member, continued to show her comfortability on her home course taking the 36-hole lead as the first to double digits at -10.

“Overall, I thought I played pretty solid,” said Ko, who finished the day with a second-round 69. “There was a stretch of a few holes where I couldn’t really hit any tee shot on the fairways, but I think it was pretty solid and I’m happy to have shot 3-under. I think it’s a lot of like positive things going into the weekend.”

Ko leads after the second day for the eighth time in her career. In three of the previous seven occurrences, Ko has gone on to win, most recently at the 2016 Marathon LPGA Classic. One shot back sits Rolex Rankings No. 4 and Florida native Nelly Korda after posting a 68 to finish at -9.

Stephanie Meadow followed her disappointing opening 76 with a more encouraging level par 72 but it left the Jordanstown professional two shots shy of making the weekend.

Full Scores HERE

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