Leona Maguire went blemish-free for the second day running at the LOTTE Championship, firing a five-under par round of 67 to move into a tie for tenth at nine-under on her first trip to Kapolei Golf Club in Hawaii.
The Cavan professional found 13 of 14 fairways and needed just 27 putts but still trails Yuka Saso by seven strokes after the Philippine star carded a second successive 64 to lead Lydio Ko by two strokes at the halfway point in Hawaii. Maguire finds herself just two strokes off third place having embraced her first trip to Oahu where the wind has generally swept in from the sea to make things a little trickier in the afternoon.
Back-to-back bogey-free rounds for @leona_maguire! 💪
— Team KPMG (@KPMGGolf) April 15, 2021
“It’s been really fun,” Maguire said. “I was excited to come to Hawaii. I was a little disappointed we didn’t come last year. It’s a little like home in the wind. It was kind of tricky, especially coming in on the back nine. It was swirling all over the place. It seemed like it was a different direction on every hole.
“I just played really steady. Hit a lot of greens, gave myself a lot of chances, and bogey-free over the first two rounds is pretty stress-free. It’s nice.”
It’s another impressive showing from Maguire who’s technically still an LPGA Tour rookie after everyone’s status was frozen through 2020 due to Covid. After Thailand rookie Patty Tavatanakit romped home at last month’s first Major of the year at the ANA, 26-year old Maguire was asked what makes this class of LPGA rookies so comfortable at the top tier of the women’s game?
“I think a lot of us don’t really feel like rookies,” Maguire said. “I suppose we had a lot of experience in amateur, in college golf. A lot of us sort of worked our way up together and have known each other for a long time.
“I think we’re just having fun and enjoying the experience of going to all these new golf courses and embracing it for the challenge that it is. With all the new girls on tour, we don’t know any different. This is all we have ever known. We’re just embracing the experience and trying to play as well as we possibly can.”
Despite her great play, Maguire knows she’ll need to be firing on all cylinders to claw her way into contention given the hot-scoring through two rounds in Hawaii. Always up for a challenge, however, Maguire will hope that things get a little tougher as she looks to claim her maiden LPGA Tour win.
“I suppose it always depends on the weather conditions and how much they tuck the pins,” she said. “But it’s just trying to give yourself as many chances as you possibly can, good iron shots, and holing putts. Greens are a little grainy so you have to read a little bit more into them. So far I’ve been giving myself a lot of chances, so hopefully I can hole a few more putts over the next two days.”
Meanwhile, Stephanie Meadow is just two strokes back of Maguire after the Jordanstown professional added a two-under 70 to her opening 67 to move to seven-under par. The 29-year old traded five birdies with three bogeys and sits in a tie for 20th, nine strokes back of the lead.
- Full scoring HERE