A good round on Friday should see Leona Maguire into the weekend at the DIO Implant LA Open, but the Cavan woman will need to improve on her opening day effort in California.
Maguire carded just one birdie and three bogeys in her first round at Wilshire Country Club to card a two-over 73 which leaves her seven shots off Alison Lee’s lead, but also just one shot inside the cut line as it stands.
It’s been a tough run for Maguire since her win at the LPGA Drive On Championship, finishing just outside the top-10 in the two events immediately after in Asia but failing to finish better than 39th on her return to the States.
This was another tough start to a tournament for the 27-year-old, who got under-par early in her round with a birdie at the par-five 13th having started at the 10th, but a bogey at the following hole immediately gave it back and she never picked up any momentum again.
Bogeys dropped at the par-four fifth and par-three seventh, which saw her sign for a 71 and a share of 77th, meaning she will need a solid display in round two to avoid a first missed cut since October.
Stephanie Meadow, meanwhile, will need a fantastic second round as a wild six-over 77 on Thursday sees her sit outside the top-100 on the leaderboard and in need of a much-improved performance to avoid a first missed cut in her last four events.
The Jordanstown woman, who also started at the 10th, had three bogeys and one birdie in her opening eight holes before a double-bogey at the par-three 18th, and she would add four more bogeys on her inward nine around two more birdies.
At the top, as one of the last starters of the first round, Lee shook off the pressure of seeing Nasa Hataoka, Emily Kristine Pedersen and Emma Talley card four-under 67s ahead of her and beat them all by a shot with a five-under 66.
The former World Amateur No.1 was bogey-free for her round, five birdies taking her one shot clear at the top and she believed that was down to some good form finally paying off.
“I feel like I was just hitting the ball really well. Everything was just falling into place. I feel like my game has been in the right place the last few months,” said Lee.
“I was disappointed with Hawaii last week. I started the week really well and playing in the wind it just got pretty difficult and just kind of messed my swing and my head. I just tried to remind myself this week it was just the same thing and I needed to stay patient.
“My irons were good. Sometimes when it’s windy like this you do need to get a little bit lucky with some of the gusts, so I feel like everything just was able to fall into place today.”
Behind the three players tied for second at four-under, six players carded three-under 68s, headlined by Sei Young Kim and So Yeon Ryu.
- Full scoring HERE
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