Tired Maguire stuck on bogey train as Irish Open hopes fade on back nine

Ronan MacNamara
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Tired Maguire stuck on bogey train as Irish Open hopes fade on back nine

Leona Maguire (Photo By Brendan Moran/Sportsfile via Getty Images)

Leona Maguire cut a jaded and disconsolate figure as she saw her KPMG Women’s Irish Open hopes take a major setback after a damaging three-over 75 on day two at Dromoland Castle.

It was more of the same for Maguire on day two in terms of playing scrappy golf but this time her usually deadly putter was unable to bail her out of some sticky situations and four successive bogeys on her back nine left her looking over her shoulder towards the cutline rather than up at leaders Smilla Tarning Soenderby and Carmen Alonso who are perched at the top at –10. 

At the moment, a roaring Sunday looks unlikely, but Maguire avoided any late disasters to ensure she is around for the weekend at two-under-par after a sluggish start for the Cavan native. She dropped a shot on the par-3 13th but appeared to have ignited her round at just the right time, taking advantage of the vulnerable 15th and 18th holes with a pair of birdies – the latter a delicate pitch to tap in range – to move to six-under for the championship as a sizeable crowd began to filter in for her back nine. 

A missed eight-foot birdie putt on the first set the tone for what was a very disappointing back nine coupled with some nasty rain showers. 

The 27-year-old pushed her tee shot into tree trouble on the 2nd via the cart path and after a poor chip out and a heavy third, she did well to save what was a good bogey in the end with a five-footer. 

Maguire’s struggles continued as hopes of a back nine charge soon fizzled out. A nasty lie in the greenside bunker on the par-3 third cost her another shot as she de-greened the ball but did chip and putt for another battling bogey. However, she did hold her neck after her tee shot on that hole which might have affected her quality of strike afterwards, often the shorter ball off the tee and coming up short on approaches.

A three-putt bogey on the fourth hole drew some nervy murmurs from the crowd as she fell further adrift of the lead and after failing to get up and down from short of the fifth, whispers of the unthinkable that she might miss the cut could be heard after her fourth dropped shot on the trot. 

Maguire’s usually determined, powerful stride up the fairways became a disconsolate trudge as the head bowed and her shoulders drooped. A careless second into the par-5 6th left her short sided and after leaving her birdie putt short, she removed herself to the side of the green and kept the head down and shoulders shrugged. 

At two-under there was still much work to be done to guarantee her passage to the weekend, a good two-putt from long range on the seventh was welcome and after flirting with disaster with her approach to the 8th, she saw a 12-footer turn its nose up at the hole. 

A watery birdie attempt on the short par-4 9th summed up her day and at eight shots back she will need something special on Saturday to get back into contention but that seems unlikely having travelled through eight time zones from Oregon at the weekend during a four-week stretch. 

As Maguire finished a large crowd scurried from the 9th green to the adjacent first tee to watch local amateur Aideen Walsh – now leading Irishwoman – get her second round underway. 

She opened with a steady par to remain one-under. 

Marina Joyce Moreno is set to miss the cut on three-over with three to play but she has had a week to remember following her hole in one on 13 yesterday. 

Rebekah Gardner is a shot further back after opening her second round with a six on the par-4 10th while Irish Girls champion Katie Poots is on plus eleven with four holes to play. 

Olivia Costello (+7) and LET player Victoria Craig (+8) have just got their second rounds underway while Kate Lanigan of the Hermitage (+3) will be in the final group at 14.05. 

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