Leona Maguire was happy to shake off some rust and open with a four-under 67 to sit two shots off the lead after the first day of the ShopRite LPGA Classic in New Jersey.
The Cavan woman recorded five birdies to move herself just outside the top-10 at Seaview in Galloway, a couple of strokes back of early leaders So Yeon Ryu and Jodi Ewart Shadoff, as she goes in search of the Player of the Year and Rookie of the Year prizes as well as the Race to CME Globe crown.
On a course that holds good memories for her, having made her professional debut there in 2018, the European Solheim Cup star is aiming to continue a run of eight straight made cuts on the LPGA Tour and seven straight top-15 finishes.
She’s off to a good start in that regard, although she needed to catch fire on her back nine after just one birdie, at the 18th, was cancelled out at the first when she dropped her only shot of the day.
But on the front nine Maguire did find the kind of form she showed at the Inverness Club, birdieing the third and fourth to get under-par again before finishing with a flourish, adding birdies at her final two holes.
“Got off to a little bit of a slow start. Made a few good pars on the opening few holes and there was a little bit of rust there. But made a nice birdie on 18, and that got the round going,” said Maguire.
“Nice back nine to finish, two birdies to finish, so good momentum heading into tomorrow.”
Meanwhile, Jordanstown’s Stephanie Meadow produced a fine response to an opening double-bogey in Galloway, battling back with four birdies in a two-under 69 that has her tied-29th.
The former World Invitational champion – who is chasing her Tour card for next season – got off to a rocky start, but she managed to end her round strongly with all four of her birdies coming in her final seven holes, two of which were at her closing two holes.
At the top of the leaderboard, Ryu and Ewart Shadoff share the early advantage after a pair of 65s that has them one ahead of a quality eight-strong chasing pack at five-under, including former Major champions Brooke Henderson, Inbee Park and Jin Young Ko and Maguire’s Solheim Cup team-mate Matilda Castren.
Ewart Shadoff was bogey-free for her round, carding four birdies and an eagle, while Ryu found one more birdie at Seaview, seeing five of them drop in total to go with an eagle but also one dropped shot.