Leona Maguire fired an eight-under 64 to take a three shot lead at the halfway stage of the Meijer LPGA Classic, but the Cavan star insists that attack is the best form of defence if she’s to clinch a first LPGA Tour title this week in Michigan.
Starting from the tenth hole on Friday, Maguire was relentless to the turn, posting five birdies in an outward half of 31 before dropping shots at the first and second, or the 10th and 11th of her round. Was the rookie feeling the pinch? Of course not, but her budding relationship with bagman Dermot Byrne was given a chance to bloom.
“I knew there was two par-5s coming up on the back nine that hopefully I could birdie and maybe pick up a few more coming in,” she said. “My caddie Dermott, that’s just what he reinforced in me. ‘You’re playing good golf. Get back to fairways and greens and we’ll take our chances coming in’.”
The 26-year-old took the first of those chances at the par-5 fourth, her 13th, picking up another birdie at the sixth before putting the afterburners on with an eagle on 8 followed by another birdie on nine; home and hosed in 33, 64 all up, a three shot lead to sleep on at 15-under, a three shot lead she knows won’t be enough to claim her first LPGA title.
“Everybody is going low. You know you have to go low,” Maguire said. “There is not really time to look around or even look behind. It’s sort of keep your foot down and keep going, make as many birdies as you can.”
“You can’t really protect a lead,” Maguire added. “You can’t just try and make pars and stuff. You have to sort of go for everything. You have to hit a lot fairways out here. It’s tough when you get in the rough. I knew all about that on 1 and 2.”
Su Oh of Australia will hope to spoil Leona’s party: “I hit a lot of greens. I think I only missed one or two,” Oh said. “Then, I actually holed a bomb on 2, I think, like 60 feet. I was like, `Oh, here comes a bogey.’ But it went in to my surprise.”
Linda Duncan, a former Duke player, just like Leona, who’s now a member at Lake Nona where the pair practice together is four shots back at minus-11.
“Yeah, we just missed each other at Duke, but we’re both members at Lake Nona so we practice and play together quite a bit,” Maguire said. “Yeah, she’s been a good friend of mine, and it’ll be nice to go head-to-head with her down the stretch this weekend.”
Looking at Maguire’s numbers – 11 of 13 fairways, 15 of 18 greens and 26 putts on Friday, who’d want to go head-to-head with that! C’mon Leona!
- Full scoring HERE