Maguire remains in the hunt as Pebble Beach shows its teeth

Mark McGowan

Leona Maguire (Photo: Kathryn Riley/USGA)

Leona Maguire was left to rue a series of dropped shots on her closing nine as she carded a two-over par round of 74 that leaves her tied for 11th midway through the second round of the 78th U.S. Women’s Open at California’s Pebble Beach.

Playing in the early morning wave, Maguire began with seven successive pars, though it was far from plain sailing as her approach play was a little suspect and she’d need to get up-and-down from a greenside bunker on the 11th – her second – from the left rough on 13, and from short of the green at 15, holing putts of six, eight and sixteen feet in the process.

Her first good birdie look came on 16, but the 13-footer slid by, though she’d finally get into red figures for the day at the par-3 17th, where, after finding the back section of the green, she’d hole a swinging, 35-footer for her first birdie of the day. She followed up by birdieing the 18th for the second successive day after laying up to a good yardage and draining a 13-footer and made the turn at -2 for the day and -5 for the tournament.


Unfortunately, another wayward approach led to a bogey at the first, and she’d follow up with back-to-back bogeys on two and three, after again missing the green with a short iron in hand. A par on the fourth stopped the rot, but another missed green at the par-3 fifth led to her fourth dropped shot in five holes as she fell to +2 for the day.

In danger of letting things slip entirely, she responded impressively to hole a 20-footer for birdie at the par-5 sixth and parred her way to the ninth where she’d close out her round with a sloppy three-putt for her fifth bogey on the front side and a two-over round of 70 that leaves her at -1 for the tournament.

“Yeah, struggled a bit today,” she conceded afterwards. “I had a lot of really good up-and-downs to sort of keep me in it but didn’t really play my best golf today. Didn’t hit enough greens, and that kind of made things a little bit difficult.”

Despite the frustrations of her closing nine holes, she’s still very much in the tournament, six strokes off the lead and with the wind strengthening and the course firming up, she’s likely to be in the top 10 when the afternoon starters complete their rounds.

“Just need to hit more greens, I think,” was her response when asked what she needed to do on the weekend. “It’s really tricky around these greens if you start missing greens, so just need to hit a few more greens and give myself a few more chances.”

Despite the course being called a links, Maguire refuted any suggestions that it played similar to links courses in Britain and Ireland. “It’s by the ocean,” she explained, “but it’s not really playing like a links golf course I would say. The fairways are pretty soft and the greens are starting to firm up and there’s obviously really lush rough. Looks like links but isn’t really playing like it.”

Maguire trails leader Bailey Tardy by six strokes after the American backed up her opening 69 with a second-round 68 to reach the clubhouse at -7. For the second day running, Tardy eagled the par-5 sixth hole, going five-under for the front nine and she’d make eight pars and a bogey on the back side to set an early target that’s unlikely to be caught.

Tardy enjoys a two-stroke lead over fellow American Allisen Corpuz and Korea’s Hyo Joo Kim, and Lahinch amateur Aine Donegan, who plays in the afternoon wave, starts her round from -3 which currently sees her tied for fifth.


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