Leona Maguire and Stephanie Meadow both got off to solid starts at the Meijer LPGA Classic, however they are already playing catch-up to Chevron Championship winner Jennifer Kupcho in Belmont, Michigan.
Maguire responded well to a bogey at her third hole of the day with four birdies in a three-under 69, while Meadow will perhaps be frustrated she didn’t kick on after a two-under front nine as she parred every hole on her way back to the clubhouse for a 70.
Both will be looking for low rounds on Friday, though, as they trail Kupcho, who seized the early advantage with a bogey-free nine-under 63 at Blythefield Country Club which saw her birdie six holes on her front nine and then add another birdie and an eagle on her inward half.
The 25-year-old’s lead is just one shot ahead of Gerina Mendoza, who equalled Kupcho’s eagle and birdie haul but also had one bogey in her first round 64, with Madelene Sagstrom, Anna Nordqvist and Lexi Thompson a shot further back after a trio of seven-under 65s.
For Maguire, she will be hoping to convert a positive start into a weekend appearance as she tries to arrest a run of four missed cuts in her last five events, and her opening round – which leaves her tied-30th – had plenty for her to build off.
The 27-year-old Cavan woman had looked to be off to another rocky start when she bogeyed her third hole, the par-four 12th, but a birdie at the par-five 18th was complemented by birdies on her front nine at the par-four third, par-three seventh and par-five eighth.
Meanwhile, Meadow is a shot further back in a share of 45th as she couldn’t make the most of a rapid start having began at the 10th, birdies coming at the par-five 10th and par-three 13th, and she even cancelled out her bogey at the par-four 16th with a birdie at 18.
However, that was as good as it got for the Galgorm woman, nine straight pars on her way back to the clubhouse resulting in a 70, although she will be pleased with hitting 14 greens in regulation despite only hitting nine fairways.