A refreshed Leona Maguire admits her time off back home has her in the right frame of mind to try and come from behind in the final round of the Dana Open in Ohio.
The Cavan woman carded a second five-under 66 of the week in her third round in Sylvania to move up to 11-under-par for the tournament, good for a share of fourth place.
She will start Sunday’s final round three shots back of 19-year-old Lucy Li, whose 67 has her at 14-under and one shot ahead of Caroline Masson and Lexi Thompson.
But Maguire feels like she is in a good mental place to potentially win a second LPGA Tour title as well as for the run-in on the Race to CME Globe.
“I really enjoyed my time at home. It was nice to be back in Europe for six, seven weeks or whatever it was. And then two weeks at home to sort of reset, recharge, and go again and be excited for the second half of the season,” said Maguire.
“I think at this point in the season it’s kind of easy to get frustrated and lose patience, so that time at home, kind of come out with a little bit fresher perspective and just enjoying being out here.”
Maguire started hot, birdieing the first, third and sixth holes to rise up the leaderboard, although another birdie at the ninth was cancelled out by a bogey at the 11th.
However, her finish was just as strong, back-to-back birdies coming at the 16th and 17th to get her into double figures and putting her in a strong position to challenge the leaders on Sunday.
“The leaderboard is really bunched. There is a lot of big names up there. Obviously Lydia (Ko) was going low today and there was a low score out there,” added Maguire.
“I think the weather is not supposed to be quite as nice tomorrow, so we’ll see how that goes. But in a good shape heading into tomorrow, and just try and post another low one.
“Some good momentum heading into tomorrow.”
Ko made the best run from deep, a seven-under 64 seeing her post the clubhouse lead at 11-under, and she would be joined on that score by six other players, including Maguire, by the end of play.
But it is teenage phenom Li who will try and close things out in the final round as she maintained her overnight lead, bouncing back from two early bogeys with six birdies in a 67 to hold a one-shot lead at 14-under.
Behind her, Masson and Thompson both signed for 65s to reach 13-under-par to position themselves as her nearest challengers.