Leona Maguire suffered another false start on the Symetra Tour as she stumbled to a three over par first round total which leaves her in T71 position and just outside the projected cut line after day one at the Guardian Championship in Alabama.
Starting on the back nine, Maguire had a birdie and two bogeys before the turn but then disaster struck as she recorded four bogeys in five holes from the 2nd and while she birdied the 5th and the 8th the damage was well and truly done.
Maguire will need to get her composure back today and go low to ensure she makes the cut and will then need to focus on getting more points for the Volvik Race for the Card as her three closest rivals (Ree, Granada & Lee) are all well inside the top 20 at the Guardian and are all within $6000 of the Cavan native with just three event remaining. The other two players currently inside the top 10 and looking towards LPGA qualification are also inside the top 20 (Coleman & Kwak) and while they are some $20,000 off Maguire in the standings, a strong run in the remaining events could see them make a challenge.
At the top of the leaderboard a bogey-free, 5-under par 67 launched Dewi Weber (Groningen, Netherlands) into a share of the 18-hole lead.
“I’m just doing my thing every round, focusing on the little things to help me get better and not the end result,” said Weber, who hit 17 greens in regulation. “My putting has been kind of off lately and it was nice to see them roll in today. Staying patient is key for me because I haven’t been doing that recently.”
Having missed several events during the middle of the season due to a left ankle injury, the University of Miami (FL) alumna is currently ranked No. 27 in the Volvik Race for the Card. On the outside looking in, there is still time for Weber to make a late run.
“The chances of me getting into the top-10, I need a win and a high finish,” the rookie said. “I know the reality and am striving for it, but at the same time from experience if I put lots of pressure and emphasis on events it won’t help me.”
Joining Weber atop the leaderboard in a share of the 18-hole lead is University of Southern California alumna Sophia Popov (Heidelberg, Germany), who carded four birdies and an eagle to get to 5-under par.
She has not missed a cut in 10 events played on the Symetra Tour in 2019. That stretch is highlighted by six top-10 finishes, including three straight.
“I played great and even the last hole, the pin is low-key ridiculous with a three-putt that almost felt like a two-putt,” Popov said after ending with a bogey on No. 18. “The rest of the round was pretty much exactly how I drew it up. Need to continue what I’ve been doing by staying aggressive and not back off certain shots. It can be really easy out here to get defensive since the pins are tough. Sometimes you get bad breaks, but just have to deal with shots that don’t end up where you think they will.”