Leona Maguire will have her work cut out if she’s to claim a first LPGA Tour title despite carding a two-under par 70 on moving day at the Meijer LPGA Classic.
The Cavan professional entered the third round three strokes clear, still knowing birdies were needed if she was to maintain her advantage in Michigan. And as Maguire stalled early on Saturday, Nelly Korda did anything but; the American bursting to the front with 11 birdies in a 10-under 62.
At 20-under par, now it’s Korda who holds a three stroke advantage with 26-year old Maguire in outright second at 17-under after posting three birdies and one bogey in a relatively quiet moving day effort. Now the chaser on Sunday, Maguire is hoping her role as the underdog could play to her advantage as she looks to reel in Korda and claim a maiden win.
“Yeah, I mean, all the pressure is on Nelly,” Maguire said. “Everybody expects Nelly to win tomorrow. She’s ranked whatever she is in the world, Top 5. Nobody expects me to do anything tomorrow. I’ve really got nothing to lose. I can just go out and play golf and see what happens.”
For most of her career, just playing her own golf has been more than enough for Maguire but forever her own harshest critic, she’ll know what’s needed on Sunday to turn the tables on Korda’s commanding lead. Having hit 12 of 13 fairways and 16 of 18 greens in reg on Saturday, the difference for Maguire was the 32 putts, six stabs more than she needed in round two and four more than in her opening 65.
Korda by comparison hit the same amount of greens in reg as Leona on moving day, but she needed seven less putts to get to the clubhouse in 62. It’s on the greens that tournaments are won and lost and Maguire will need her flat-stick to be her magic wand should she wish to add ‘LPGA winner’ to her glittering CV.
“I’ll try to get off to a fast a start as I possibly can and see where we’re at. I mean, it’s going to be well into the 20s. I think we know that,” she said of the likely winning total.
“What exactly it’s going to be will depend a little bit on the pins and the conditions tomorrow. But, yeah, ultimately trying to go as low as I possibly can tomorrow. Hit a lot of fairways, greens, try and hole some putts and shoot a number and put some pressure on her.”
- Full scoring HERE
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