Leona Maguire fired three birdies on the bounce to close out a moving day four-under 67, her best round of the week that was good enough to move the Cavan pro into a tie for 15th ahead of the final round of the Marathon LPGA Classic.
The 26-year old opened with seven straight pars before two birdies at 8 and 9 saw her make the turn in 32 at seven-under par for the tournament. A bogey halted momentum at the 11th before things went stale through 15 holes with four more pars. However, patience proved key to the Olympian, biding her time before a three-hole birdie blitz to finish, Maguire moving to nine-under par, albeit 10 shots back of Nasa Hataoka’s lead in Ohio.
Maguire found 10 of 14 fairways, 15 of 18 greens and needed 29 putts and finds herself just two shots back of the current top-5 with Hataoka streaking six clear in a world of her own at 19-under par. Just a few weeks since losing out in a playoff to Yuka Saso at the US Women’s Open, the 22-year old is on track to earn her fourth LPGA Tour title.
“I think the original thinking of this course was that it was a very narrow course so it might be difficult for me,” Hatoaka said. “Then it came out to be that the narrow makes it easier to get to the target, so I think this is what was good.”
The Japanese player has had particular success from the 14th to 18th holes this week, playing them in four-under each of the three days, contributing to her 19-under par three-round tally, a 54-hole tournament record.
“I think last five holes are usually the place where you really have to concentrate and try for the birdies,” Hatoaka added. “I think that kind of clicked and gave me those birdies.”
- Full scoring HERE