Leona Maguire / Image from Getty Images
Leona Maguire struggled to get anything going as she signed for a one-over par 73 at the first event of this year’s Ladies European Tour – the Pacific Bay Resort Australian Ladies Classic – Bonville.
In hot and humid conditions, the Cavan professional found only one birdie and with two bogeys on the card, Maguire finds herself in a share of 41st spot overnight.
She’ll be hoping for much better tomorrow having likened the Bonville track, located just 11 kilometres south of Coffs Harbour, to that of her Duke University collegiate course where Maguire rose to world number one as an amateur.
She’ll have a steady pace to keep up with as rising New South Wales amateur star Doey Choi holds a two stroke lead after a fast start Down Under.
Choi, the reigning Queensland and South Australian Women’s Amateur Champion, fired a brilliant six-under-par 66 to sit two clear of Swedish duo Madelene Sagstrom and Daniela Holmqvist at Bonville Golf Resort in Coffs Harbour.
Another Swede, Jenny Haglund, shares fourth with western Australians Hannah Green and Whitney Hillier who played during a morning of light rain. They were later joined by Nuria Iturrios from Spain, who shot a bogey-free 69 in hot and humid conditions.
Choi, 18, from Concord Golf Club in Sydney, reeled off an impressive eight birdies against two bogeys in her first round. She made six birdies against a solitary bogey in her first 11 holes, with her only blemish on the difficult 17th played over water, where she failed to get up and down from over the green.
“I didn’t play too good last week so confidence wasn’t too high. I haven’t been hitting it that great, so it was nice to play some solid golf today,” said Choi.
“There’s a little bit more pressure now, for the next few rounds, so hopefully I can play some more solid golf and be up there.”