Return to form for Leona Maguire at Cognizant Founders Cup

Adam McKendry

Leona Maguire (Photo by Michael Owens/Getty Images)

Leona Maguire turned in a performance that looked much more like herself as she moved just outside the top-20 at the close of the opening day of the Cognizant Founders Cup in New Jersey.

The K Club Touring Professional has struggled since her first LPGA Tour win at the start of the season but she sprang back to life at Upper Montclair Country Club with a three-under 69 in her first round.

Even at that there will be a degree of frustration for Maguire, who did all of her scoring on the front nine before rattling off nine straight pars on her back nine to finish six shots off leader Madelene Sagstrom of Sweden.


It was a slightly tougher day for Stephanie Meadow but she didn’t play herself out of it, either, with a one-under 71 consisting of four birdies and three bogeys leaving her in a share of 47th.

Maguire, who has failed to finish in the top-35 in her last five events and has missed the cut in her last two, showed plenty of glimpses on Thursday to show that she has found something now that the LPGA Tour has returned to the east coast.

The 27-year-old was level-par thru her first three holes of the day having sandwiched an eagle on the par-five 11th with two bogeys either side of it, before birdies at the 14th, 17th and 18th moved her up to three-under by the turn.

She was the model of consistency on the back nine, though, as she improved her greens in regulation to 14 in the round but failed to turn them into birdies as nine pars in a row took her back to the clubhouse.

That leaves her with a little work to do to catch up to Sagstrom, who opened with a bogey-free nine-under 63 at Upper Montclair to lead by one from Megan Khang, whose 64 was also bogey-free on day one, with Japan’s Nasa Hataoka a shot further back in solo third.

Meadow will be left to rue a poor finish to her round that had seen her sitting alongside Maguire at three-under for the majority thanks to birdies around the turn at the par-fives ninth and 12th, but late bogeys at the 14th – another par-five – and the 18th dropped her down the standings.

The Jordanstown woman has been in promising form recently, picking up two top-20 finishes in her last five starts and moving just outside the top-100 in the world rankings, and she will hope to clean up her card in Friday’s second round.

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