It was a very different day for Leona Maguire in round two of the Omega Dubai Moonlight Classic as she followed up her opening course record 64 with a second round 75 which saw her drop from first to fifth on the leaderboard.
Teeing off in the much hotter morning temperatures today having had a cooler afternoon tee time for her opening round, Leona found herself struggling to get her scoring going with a double bogey on 7 and a bogey on 17 combining with 16 pars for her three over par tally.
Maguire is still in the hunt though and she said: “I didn’t give myself many chances today. On seven, I wanted to hit 7-wood, my caddie wanted me to hit an iron and I hit an iron in the water, which was quite annoying to finish with. I didn’t give myself enough chances and didn’t hole any putts, so no birdies today. I need to play a lot better tomorrow and hit my irons better to give myself some more chances.”
She now finds herself four shots off the pace set by the new LET No.1 Nuria Iturrios from Spain and first year professional Esther Henseleit from Germany, who leads the LET’s Rookie of the Year Rankings. Both ladies are sharing the clubhouse lead on nine-under-par after rounds of 68 and 66 over the Faldo Course at Emirates Golf Club.
They are one stroke clear of Germany’s Olivia Cowan with Henseleit, 20, from Hamburg, who turned professional with a handicap of +7.1 in January after finishing third at Tour School, was eight-under-par after 16 holes, but double bogeyed the par-3 17th after finding the right hand greenside bunker and three-putting.
The exciting young talent is sixth on the LET order of merit after four top-10 finishes from five starts already this season, including a tie for third in the Investec South African Women’s Open and a tie for fourth in last week’s Lalla Meryem Cup in Morocco.
The 2017 PING Junior Solheim Cup player now has the chance to win her first professional title in only her sixth tournament and said: “It would mean everything. I think everyone wants to win and to do this in your first year is really good, but there is still one day to go and I’m not thinking of the win. I want to do my best and see what happens tomorrow.”
Paying her first visit to Dubai, she enjoyed playing under the floodlights during her first round on Wednesday evening, saying: “It was pretty cool. It was really nice to play in the dark without the sun and it was fun.”
Iturrios, who claimed her second Lalla Meryem Cup title inside four years last week to go to the top of the order of merit, also enjoyed the experience of playing in the world’s first day-night golf tournament.
The 23-year-old from Palma de Mallorca said: “It was so cool yesterday and I loved it. It’s so weird, it was my first time playing at night. I just trusted in my game and I trusted where the ball went, so I’ll keep going.”
On her chances of earning consecutive titles, she added: “It would be awesome, of course, but there’s still 18 holes to play and you never know. It’s golf, so I want to enjoy it.”
Cowan, 23, from Hamburg, who had four birdies in her second round 70, said that it was very different playing in the day time, from the night: “It was really hot today, so it was a bit different from yesterday. I played really well, again. I made a few stupid mistakes, which cost me a bit, but otherwise I’m happy with the day.
“Yesterday was a lot cooler and it’s probably better to start in the afternoon, actually, because the first hour, it’s quite hot, but then it cools down pretty quickly. Today it was really hot from 8.30am in the morning, but it was a really nice day.”
Lisa Maguire also had another frustrating day and added a 76 to her opening 75 for a +7 total which sees her in 49th place on the leaderboard.