Meadow five behind Korda and Ko as Maguire starts slow

Ronan MacNamara
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Stephanie Meadow (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)

Ronan MacNamara

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Stephanie Meadow got her LPGA Tour season up and running with a one-under 70 at the Drive On Championship in Florida.

Meadow carded three birdies and two bogeys as she battled back from a slow start to finish in red numbers and share 25th place. The Jordanstown woman trails Nelly Korda and last week’s winner, Lydia Ko by five shots.

Meanwhile, Leona Maguire, a winner of this event two years ago, has work to do to make the cut after opening with a two-over 73 which included a double bogey on the par-4 12th.

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A hot front nine of 31 was the catalyst for Korda to climb into a share of the lead. Having opened with a bogey, the former world number one replied with back-to-back birdies before adding two more on the fifth and ninth either side of an eagle on the par-5 8th.

“Gosh, I think I had 257 into the pin and hit my 3-wood really good,” she said. The wind “was helping off the left. Played it nicely off the slope to a tap-in.”

She would reach six-under after ten holes and hold her position to card a 65 alongside Ko who was bogey-free and finished with four birdies in her last six holes.

“Yeah, you are obviously coming in with good momentum, and it’s nice that we’re going from Florida to Florida. It’s not like we’re in Florida and then we’re having to go to Houston or anything like that,” Ko said.

“So it’s nice that we can play a couple weeks and it’s a drive for me, because I live in Orlando. Just makes the start of the season stress free.”

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