Maguire seven off the pace despite strong finish

Ronan MacNamara
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Leona Maguire (Photo by Julio Aguilar/Getty Images)

Ronan MacNamara

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Leona Maguire has work to do at the Tournament of Champions in Lake Nona after she opened with a rollercoaster level-par 72 to leave her seven shots off the early pace at the LPGA Tour season opener.

Maguire is T22 in the 35-player field with Ayaka Furue two shots clear of the rest on seven-under-par.

The Cavan woman was struggling at three-over-par through twelve holes but battled hard down the closing stretch with birdies at 13, 14 and 17 to get back to where she started.

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As for the overnight leader, Furue, the Japanese star who won the 2022 Ladies Scottish Open carded seven birdies in a flawless opening effort.

Back-to-back closing birdies saw her break from the pack on five-under and lead on her own as she made a flying start to her third season on the LPGA Tour.

She leads by two from Maja Stark and Gaby Lopez while Ally Ewing and Danielle Kang are a shot further back.

“All of my play today, that was really fantastic for me,” Furue said. “I could make a lot of birdies and get closer to the hole, and, yeah, I think that’s the point I could gain the result today.”

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