Maguire signs off in style to enter the weekend tied 2nd at Meijer LPGA Classic

Mark McGowan

Leona Maguire tees off on the second hole in round two at the Meijer LPGA Classic (Photo by David Berding/Getty Images)

A scintillating back nine sees Leona Maguire enter the weekend in prime position to capture her second LPGA Tour title at the Meijer LPGA Classic in Michigan.

An opening three-under saw the back-to-back runner-up nicely poised ahead of her second round, but a sluggish start saw her cover the opening seven holes in one-under while her competitors were threatening to distance themselves from the field.

A birdie at the par-5 eighth brought her to -5 for the tournament and six back, but a second bogey of the day on the par-5 10th appeared to indicate that it was going to be a day for holding on rather than seriously attacking.


But the Cavan girl is made of stern stuff, and a birdie at the 12th sparked a revival and she’d add three more on the spin immediately after before reaching the par-5 closing hole that she’d agonisingly three-putted to lose in a playoff a year previous.

Any lingering ghosts were well and truly banished as she drained a curling 20-footer for eagle to reach -10 and seven-under for the day, covering the back nine in 31 strokes to end the day tied for second, one stroke behind 36-hole leader Ayaka Furue.

“Yeah, I mean, I’ve been hitting it nice all day,” Maguire said afterwards when asked about catching fire on the back side, “giving myself lots of chances.

“The goal today was to take advantage of the par-5s, so did that a little bit better today. Hit a bad shot on 10. That was a costly bogey. Kind of stuffed my momentum for the front.

“Yeah, right back into it, and it was nice to go on that run 12, 13, 14, 15. Yeah, obviously a bonus to finish with an eagle at the end.”

After her Solheim Cup heroics in 2021, Maguire is clearly a player for the big occasion and the Mid-West fans are as passionate as American golfing supporters come and she felt that she fed off the crowd’s energy on the closing stretch.

“I think we were talking about it earlier,” she said. “This is some of the best crowds I think we get all year, definitely of a nonmajor. I think it’s nice to see so many kids out there as well and people cheering you on.

“In the States there is plenty of USA chants today, but there was also a few Leona ones in there, which was nice. I think you kind of feed off the energy of the crowd, so nice to give them something to cheer about on 18.”

A slow-burning early season has rapidly caught fire for Maguire in recent weeks, with a top-10 finish at the recent Mizuho Americas Open preceded by a T3 finish at the LPGA Matchplay, and she enters the business section of the LPGA season brimming with confidence.

“Yeah, I think it’s just steadily been getting better and better,” she said. “Saw my coach last week down in Orlando. Came over for a few days, so we were just kind of fine tuning.

“There is no major changes needed. I drove the ball really, really well yesterday; not quite as well today. Yeah, you just need to be doing everything solid around here, which is nice prep going into a major next week.”

Playing a few groups ahead of Maguire, compatriot Stephanie Meadow backed up her opening 70 with a three-under 69 to end the day tied for 27th at -5. A single birdie and single bogey saw the Jordanstown girl cover the front side in level par, but four birdies to just one bogey on the back nine was just what the doctor ordered and she’s primed for her best LPGA Tour finish of the season ahead of the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship at Baltusrol next week.


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