Maguire looking to make it third time lucky at Meijer LPGA Classic

Mark McGowan

Leona Maguire (Photo by David Berding/Getty Images)

Leona Maguire didn’t quite find the magic that had propelled her to a seven-under 64 on Friday, but a birdie at the last saw her sign for a 69 and she goes into the final round just two back at the Meijer LPGA Classic.

The Cavan star clearly likes Blythefield Country Club having finished runner-up in both her previous visits, but four pars and a bogey on her opening five holes wasn’t the start she was looking for but after missing the green on six, she’d hole a beautiful chip for birdie to get things moving and followed up with back-to-back birdies to make it three in a row and get to -2 for the day.

Scoring is usually quite low at Blythefield – Maguire shot -23 back in 2021 but had to settle for second as Nelly Korda posted -25 – but gusting winds and a rapidly firming up course made birdies a little harder to come by than usual, so when she’d cover the next nine holes in level par with a bogey at 13 and a bounce-back birdie at 14, little ground had been lost, but she still needed to make a neat up-and-down on 17 and birdie the par-5 closing hole to get in at -3 for the day and take a two-stroke deficit into the final round.


“Yeah, I mean, overall I felt like I played okay today,” Maguire admitted afterwards. “Had a few putts that just sort of sat on the edge and rolled out and stuff.

“Drove it quite nicely again today and obviously nice to make the up and down on 17. That was really nice. Thought it was in. That one didn’t to go in, but always nice to finish with a birdie on 18 to sort of bring a little bit of momentum into tomorrow.”

Despite her proximity to the lead, she’ll not be leaderboard watching and trying to alter her strategy based on what others are doing. “Yeah, I mean, I’ve done it both ways,” she explained. “I’ve been up in the lead. I’ve come from behind last year. I’ve been in both situations. I think it’s going to take a low one tomorrow. Probably going to go low.

“I don’t think I’ll be — I won’t be looking at any leaderboards. Just try and go as low as I possibly can and see if it’s good enough at the end of the day.

“I think on this golf course you know everybody is going low, so even if someone is at 14, 15, you know they’re going to get to 17, 18, 20. It’s just a case of trying to do what I can do and make as many birdies as I can.

And, yeah, doesn’t — can’t really judge on what other people do. So, yeah, stick to my own game plan, hit a lot of fairways and greens, and ultimately come down to who holes the most putts tomorrow.

“I think just a good night’s rest tonight and go out early tomorrow. I know I’m swinging it well, so more of the same really. Plan doesn’t really change.

Good rhythm, good patience tomorrow, and see what happens.”

One player who could come through the pack with and put themselves in the mix with a low final round the way Maguire did last year is Stephanie Meadow who posted a four-under 68, her best of the week, to climb to 13th place at -9 and just five back.

Amy Yang is the solo leader at -15 after a moving-day 67, but Ashleigh Buhai and Xiyu Lin went one better with matching 66s to join Ayaka Furue in second at -14. Maguire is one of three tied for fifth at -13, alongside former world number one and two-time Women’s Open champion Ariya Jutanugarn, who she’ll join in the penultimate group with Furue at 15:39 Irish time.



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