Maguire tied 6th at halfway stage of Drive On Championship

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Leona Maguire (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)

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Leona Maguire remains right in the mix at the halfway stage of the LPGA’s Drive On Championship after carding a second round one-under par 71 at Ocala, Florida.

Fresh off a top-20 finish at last week’s Gainbridge LPGA, the Cavan professional traded three birdies and two bogeys in another rock-solid showing to be sharing sixth place through 36-holes at four-under par. Maguire found 13 of 14 fairways and and 14 of 18 greens in regulation, needing 31 putts and trails Austin Ernst and Jennifer Kupcho who lead the field by two strokes at 10-under par.

“I’ve been playing really solid the last couple weeks,” said Maguire, who spent 135 weeks as the world’s top ranked amateur. “I felt comfortable with my game heading into this week. Been hitting my irons a lot better, which is something I spent a lot of time working on over the off season.

“It’s nice on these greens when they’re so firm and sort of the rough areas around the greens trying to avoid chipping as much as possible this week, and so far I’ve been doing a pretty good job at that.”

For the second day running, Maguire birdied her closing two holes, a good omen should she find herself in contention down the stretch come Sunday.

“I guess they just suit my eye,” she said of 17 and 18. “Played them very similarly both days. It’s funny, 18 all the practice rounds I went for it in two and last two days I’ve I laid up. I have been working a lot on my wedges so 18 has been good to me. Just hit two really nice shots in on 17 both days. Obviously played them in different orders today, but hit a really nice 7-iron in to about six feet today and nice 8-iron in the same today.”

Maguire was also asked post-round if her Rookie year on Tour, albeit disrupted heavily by Covid-19, was in some way a nice introduction to the Tour given her status was frozen through to the end of this year regardless off how she played.

“Yeah, for sure,” she agreed, having hit the ground running this term. “I mean, I suppose it was nice to see some of the golf courses that we actually got to play the second half of the season. Got to play in a few majors, which was nice as well.

“Just tried to bank all that experience. Got a whole year’s work in with my caddie, Gary, which was nice getting used to each other and seeing different shots and yardages and all of that. Yeah, tried to learn as much as I could from last year and bring it into this year.”

It wasn’t such a good day for Stephanie Meadow, although the Northern Irishwoman cruised through to the weekend rounds in Florida. Meadow managed three birdies but also carded four bogeys and a double in a three-over par round of 75 that saw her fall to a share of 58th at two-over par.

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