Maguire and Meadow in LA as LPGA Tour hits California

Ronan MacNamara

Stephanie Meadow (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)

Ronan MacNamara

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Leona Maguire and Stephanie Meadow are both in the field for the DIP Implant Los Angeles Open at Wilshire Country Club as the LPGA Tour gets set for its California swing.

This is the first of back-to-back events ahead of next week’s Palos Verdes Championship.

Maguire will show off the K Club logo on her golf bag for the first time today after it was announced she agreed a deal to become the club’s touring professional, linking up with Seamus Power.

Hopefully a new logo and fresh relationship can trigger an upturn in performances for the Cavan native who, by her own high standards, has slightly gone off the boil in recent weeks.

Following her return Stateside from the Asian swing Maguire has posted finishes of 42nd, 39th and 48th but it has already been a great season for her having won her maiden LPGA Tour title in February.

The 27-year-old remains inside the top-10 on the Race to CME Globe standings despite slipping from 8th to 9th in the season-long leaderboard and Maguire tees off alongside Ariya Jutanugarn and Ally Ewing.

Stephanie Meadow meanwhile has shown a great resurgence in form in recent weeks and the Jordanstown native was in contention heading into last week’s final round but a front nine of 42 put paid to her chances.

Meadow carded two double-bogeys in her opening four holes as her hopes of a maiden LPGA Tour win were dashed in an instant.

The 29-year-old is a formidable battler though and the story of her life and career portrays that trait. She fought gallantly that day too, coming home in 35 with no bogeys. It was a final round 77, but if ever there was a good round of 77 that was it.

In the end, it was still a good finish for the Northern Irishwoman who added an 18th place finish to a 35th and 10th place in her previous two events. Crucially it has seen her move up to 45th in the Race to CME Globe Rankings.

Meadow kept her LPGA Tour playing privileges at the eleventh hour last season for the second time in her career but this time around she has hit the ground running and is looking up rather than over her shoulder so far.

The Arizona resident has put in trojan work both on the practice range and in the gym and so far it has paid dividends. She has increased her swing speed and is now 26th in driving distance on tour, while linking up with coach Todd McKittrick has seen her swing improve. Meadow has hit 75% of her fairways off the tee and is 44th in that category.

Meadow will play the opening two rounds alongside Chinese golfer Ruixin Liu and Bianca Pagdanganan.

World number one Jin Young Ko is back in action after a disappointing Chevron Championship where she finished 53rd. It was a week that also brought an end to her record of sub-par rounds. Her first round of 74 was her first over-par round in eight months, halting a record of 34 consecutive sub-par rounds.

However, the world’s best player has seen it as a wake-up call in terms of what she needed to work on.

“I didn’t play well in the Chevron so I need to fix something to do my swing, so I practice hard. It was getting better and better, but I need to more practice for my swing and to perfect,” said Ko, who finished T53 in Rancho Mirage where she won her first major championship title in 2019. “[My] driver distance wasn’t far in the Chevron, so I practice more downswing to the ground, like push the ground and then get the powers from the ground.”

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