Gutsy Maguire just two back ahead of Spanish Sunday showdown

Ronan MacNamara

Leona Maguire (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images)

Ronan MacNamara

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Leona Maguire ground out a three-under-par 70 to remain firmly in the mix for her second professional title heading into the final round of the Open D’Espana in Alferini Golf.

Maguire posted three birdies on her back nine to move to twelve-under and is just two shots behind Switzerland’s Morgane Metraux at the LET finale.

The Cavan native shares second with Solheim Cup legend Caroline Hedwall and local amateur Cayetana Fernandez while home favourite and defending champion Carlota Ciganda is a shot further back in fifth after an eagle, birdie, birdie finish.

Maguire got off to a slow start, falling over par early with a bogey on the par-5 2nd before getting it back on the fourth.

The 27-year-old birdied the par-5 11th before holing from 40-feet for a brace of birdies on the 12th.

Opportunities came and went for Maguire in particular on the very gettable par-5 16th but she edged closer to the lead with a birdie on the par-5 17th.

Having missed the fairway right, she slammed a wood out of the bunker and after flirting with the penalty area on the right of the green, the ball trundled onto the putting surface and she two-putted from long range for a welcome birdie.

Maguire admitted she wasn’t at her best – like the final round of the CME Tour Championship – but she has developed a knack of staying in it and her battling qualities came to the fore today.

“It was pretty steady; I didn’t really hole any putts. I left myself above the hole a lot which made it quite tricky. I’m two shots back, I will just try and post a low round tomorrow and see what happens.

“I think you have to keep it tight through the first few holes and then there’s some chances on the back nine. Hopefully, I’ll get off to a little bit of a quick start tomorrow and then take advantage of the shorter holes on the back nine.”

Three birdies in her final four holes saw Metraux take a two shot lead into the final day with a six-under 67 to lead on -14.

At one stage there were fourteen players within four shots of a lead that changed hands several times with Maguire sharing at one stage on -11.

The race for the season-long race for the Costa Del Sol will go down to the wire but the initiative is with Sweden’s Linn Grant who is sixth on nine-under despite a one-over 73.

Her compatriot and nearest challenger Maja Stark had a case of the three-putts, and not from long range as she fluttered away shots on the back nine.

A three-putt par on 16 was followed by a three-putt double bogey seven on 17 after finding the penalty area with her second shot as she fell to -8.

Scoring HERE

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