Leona Maguire struggled in the opening round of the Shoprite LPGA Classic and will need a big second round display to make the cut in Galloway, New Jersey.
The Cavan woman, coming off an impressive top-10 finish at last week’s US Open, couldn’t replicate that form as she battled to a two-over-par 73 at Stockton Seaview Hotel & Golf Club to sit tied-90th at the end of the first day.
It was a poor start that put Maguire on the back foot as, starting at the 10th, she bogeyed three of her opening five holes to quickly fall to three-over, however she managed to take some momentum into the back nine with a birdie at the par-five 18th.
However, she couldn’t turn things around on her inward nine as she dropped her fourth shot of the day at the par-four fourth, although she would get it back straight away at the par-five fifth to give her a chance of sticking around for the final round.
She will need a much improved performance, though, as the cut currently sits at level-par, with Maguire looking to avoid missing her fourth cut in her last five starts.
The 27-year-old is already eight shots off leader Stephanie Kyriacou, the Australian carding six birdies in a bogey-free 65 in her opening round to lead by one shot over Sweden’s Frida Kinhult at this early stage.
“(It’s the) first time in contention on the LPGA, so, I mean, I’ll definitely be nervous, but I’ll be pretty excited,” said Kyriacou ahead of teeing it up in the second round.
And after recording her best round of the year so far she was asked what was going so well for her on the day, “Well, I just took three weeks off, so I think being able to just take some time off, work on some things, and then come out with a bit more confidence is definitely — was definitely part of it.
“But I don’t know, I just didn’t really make a mistake. When I missed green I made up and down. It was just fun to play today.
“I just found a new coach, so I have a coach now, so just been working on some pitching him. This course is a short course, so pitching is definitely a big part of it.
“Yeah, just a little bit of everything. Just a bit of guidance, so, yeah.”
Second placed Kinhult mixed an eagle with four birdies and one bogey in a 66 that has her one shot ahead of World No.1 Jin Young Ko and Canada’s Brooke Henderson alongside Dottie Ardina and Marina Alex who are all tied for third at four-under-par.