Irish interest ends as Maguire and Donegan both miss the cut in Lancaster

Mark McGowan

Leona Maguire (Dustin Satloff/USGA)

Mark McGowan

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It’s turned into a U.S. Women’s Open to forget from an Irish perspective as both Leona Maguire and Aine Donegan missed the cut at Lancaster Country Club.

Starting the day at +3 but just five off the lead, hopes were high that Maguire could shoot level-par or better and find herself well in the mix going into the weekend, but a bogey on the 10th – her opening hole – was far from the ideal start. Birdie on the par-5 13th got her back to level-par, but back-to-back bogeys on 15 and 16 and a birdie on 17 saw her reach the turn at +1 for the day.

Any hopes of breaking par died on a three-hole stretch on the front nine, as she went double bogey, double bogey, bogey on holes three, four and five and the focus shifted from getting into contention after 36 holes to earning a weekend tee time.

With the cutline sitting at +8, she needed to play her closing four in one-under to make the grade but another bogey at the eighth effectively ended all hope.

Aine Donegan’s hopes of another dream week at the U.S. Open fizzled out quickly in round two, as the tough setup proved too much for the Clare amateur and she slipped out of contention early.

World No. 1 Nelly Korda shaved 10 strokes off her first-round score, but it wasn’t enough to stick around for the weekend. While the fans at Lancaster Country Club tried to will her inside the cut line, Korda’s second-round 70 put her alongside Maguire at 10-over for the tournament and two shots outside the number, and they weren’t the only big names to miss out; Arija Jutanugarn, Rose Zhang, Lexi Thompson, Brooke Henderson, Lydia Ko and Jennifer Kupcho are also heading home early.

“Tried to give it my all,” said Korda, who hadn’t missed a cut on tour in nearly a full year. “That’s what I do with every round. I had nothing to lose, so that was kind of like the mentality. Just go for it.”

At the business end of the leaderboard, only four players finished the first two rounds under par, with Thailand’s Wichanee Meechai leading the way at four-under, two shots clear of Andrea Lee, while Minjee Lee and Yuka Saso are tied for third at -1.

Meechai’s 67 was the joint lowest round of the day with Mi Hyang Lee the only other player to go round in -3, and the Thai afterwards admitted that she’d been critically nervous beforehand.

“To be honest, before the tee time, I was so nervous,” she said. “I just talked to my manager, like my hands just shaking, my brain just stop working. But trying to commit to the shot. I know that the course is hard; just go with the flow probably. That’s my point, and just have fun.”

Leading chaser Lee is well aware that patience is going to be all-important over the weekend and that, in classic U.S. Open fashion, par is a more than acceptable score on every tee box.

“Yeah, it’s really tough out there,” Lee said. “The course requires all of your attention on every single golf shot. Just staying super patient and trying to hit fairways, hit greens and take the birdies when I can.

“But par is a really, really good score out here, so that’s what I’m going to try and do on the weekend, just try and make as many pars as I can.”

The race for low amateur honours looks set to be battled out by Americans Asterisk Talley and Megan Schofill who are nicely placed at +1 and +2 respectively, though France’s Adela Cernousek could yet have a say if she’s able to put her second-round 79 behind her and battle her way back from the cutline.


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