Leona Maguire falls out of the lead in Dubai after day two 75
Cavan player failed to find a single birdie on second day after scintillating first round
Leona Maguire of Ireland takes a shot from the 15th fairway during Day Two of the Omega Dubai Moonlight Classic at Emirates Golf Club. Photo: Tom Dulat/Getty Images
Frontrunner? Pursuer? There are different ways to win a tournament, and if Leona Maguire is to claim a breakthrough Ladies European Tour victory, then the 24-year-old Cavan player will have to make up a four strokes deficit and chase down joint-leaders Spain’s Nuria Iturrios and Germany’s Esther Henseleit heading into the final round of the Omega Dubai Moonlight Classic.
After shooting the lights out in a course record-breaking 64 in the first round, Maguire slipped to a 75 – failing to find a single birdie in a round played in glaring sunshine – for a two round total of 139, five-under-par, which left her trailing Henseleit, who only turned professional in January, and the in-form Iturrios, who moved to the top of the LET order of merit with her win in Morocco last Sunday.
Henseleit shot a second round 66 for nine-under-par 135 after 36 holes; Iturrios signed for a 68 to also lie on 135, with Maguire dropping to tied-fifth but still in touching distance of the frontrunners with one round to play.
While Iturrios, with her eyes on a Solheim Cup spot later this season, maintained that momentum, Maguire struggled to follow up on her sizzling opening round and ultimately took 11 strokes more: having started on the 10th, Maguire suffered a dropped hot on the Par 3 17th and then ran up a double-bogey six on the Par 4 seventhhole before finishing with two pars.
Maguire, seeking to juggle playing on both the LET, where she won a full card at qualifying school, and also the Symetra Tour in the United States, where she is currently second on the money list after winning the Windsor Classic last month, struggled to reproduce her opening round birdie blitz but remains well positioned for a final round charge.
Of the double-bogey on the seventh, Maguire said: “I wanted to hit 7-wood; my caddie wanted me to hit an iron and I hit an iron into the water, which was quite annoying to finish with. I didn’t give myself enough chances and didn’t hole any putts. I need to play a lot better (on Friday) and hit my irons better to give myself some more chances.”
Twin sister Lisa signed for a second round 76 for a 36-holes total of 151, seven-over, which had her in tied-49th.
Henseleit, a 20-year-old from Hamburg, turned professional with a handicap of plus-7.1 after finishing third at last year’s LET Tour School. The German looked set to hold the outright lead but suffered a double-bogey five on the Par 3 17th after finding a greenside bunker and three-putting.
For Iturrios, it was a case of bringing her from Morocco to Dubai. “I’m feeling good, it would be awesome to win back-to-back (on tour),” she said.