Leona Maguire makes solid start at BMW Ladies Championship

In the Zozo Championship on the PGA Tour, Hiroshi Iwata leads the way after a 63

Leona Maguire tees off on the second hole during the first round of the BMW Ladies Championship in Busan, South Korea. Photo: Chung Sung-Jun/Getty Images

Leona Maguire tees off on the second hole during the first round of the BMW Ladies Championship in Busan, South Korea. Photo: Chung Sung-Jun/Getty Images

 

Leona Maguire opened with a two under par round of 70 at the BMW Ladies Championship in South Korea on Thursday to sit in 27th place.

The Cavan golfer needs a top-six finish to keep alive her hopes of winning rookie of the year on the LPGA Tour and her solid first round in Busan means she is still well in the hunt. After opening with nine pars Maguire made birdies on the 10th and 11th before dropping a shot at the 14th. However, a closing birdie at the 18th in rainy conditions got her back to two under for the day and leaves her six shots behind leader Na Rin An.

Playing in her home country An fired nine birdies on Thursday with just one bogey coming on the 18th.

On the PGA Tour, Masters champion Hideki Matsuyama made a sizzling start to the Zozo Championship on Thursday, firing a bogey-free six-under-par 64 to take a share of second place a shot behind leader Hiroshi Iwata at the end of the first round.

The biggest draw as the event returned to Japan at the Narashino Country Club in Chiba, Matsuyama delighted the galleries by snaring three birdies either side of the turn in perfect conditions. Chilean Joaquin Niemann matched him for a 64 which gave the pair a one stroke lead over England’s Matt Wallace with American Brendan Steele after further shot back in fifth after a 66.

Tokyo Olympic champion Xander Schauffele picked up three shots on his first five holes but plummeted down the leaderboard to a share of 29th after four bogeys against a single birdie for the remainder of his round of even-par 70. Iwata, who matched the then lowest round at a major with a 63 at the 2015 PGA Championship at Whistling Straits, threatened to tear up the course when he turned around at five-under after an eagle three at his ninth. The 40-year-old managed only two more birdies on the way home, however, and settled for a 63.

That proved enough to keep him clear of compatriot Matsuyama after Japan’s first Masters champion three-putted for par at the last for a disappointing end to a fine round.

It was not the only stroke that Matsuyama left on the greens but his approach play, including an iron that pitched within inches of the flag at the 17th, ensured he remained among the leading pack.

Tiger Woods won the first Zozo Championship for his 82nd career title in 2019, but the second edition last year was moved to California because of the travel restrictions caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.

First round scores from the BMW Ladies Championship (USA unless stated, Par 72)

64 Nam-Rin Ant (Kor)

65 Ind-Gee Chun (Kor), Ju-Young Park (Kor)

66 Danielle Kang, A-Lim Kim (Kor), Hae-Ran Ryu (Kor)

67 Min-Jee Lee (Aus), Sei-Young Kim (Kor), Esther Henseleit (Ger), Gaby Lopez (Mex), Alison Lee, Hee-Jeong Lim (Kor), Jin-Hee Lim (Kor)

68 Moriya Jutanugarn (Tha), Hannah Green (Aus), Som-Mi Lee (Kor), Da-Yeon Lee (Kor), Jung-Min Hong (Kor), Ji-Hyun Kim (Kor), Yun-Ji Jeong (Kor)

69 Jeon-Geun Lee (Kor), Charley Hull (Eng), Wichanee Meechai (Tha), Albane Valenzuela (Swi), Hee-Young Park (Kor), Hae-Ji Kang (Kor)

70 Yea-Lin Kang (Kor), Ariya Jutanugarn (Tha), Ind-Bee Park (Kor), Leona Maguire (Irl), Pajaree Anannarukarn (Tha), Jennifer Kupcho, Celine Boutier (Fra), Thidapa Suwannapura (Tha), Yu Liu (Chn), Marina Alex, Ji-Su Kim (Kor), Ji-Young Kim (Kor), Jung-Min Lee (Kor), Da-Been Heo (Kor), Yem-Sung Jun (Kor)

71 Sung-Hyun Park (Kor), Yem-Been Sohn (Kor), Jin-Young Ko (Kor), Hyo-Joo Kim (Kor), Yealimi Noh, Su-Hyun Oh (Aus), Emma Talley, Eun-Hee Ji (Kor), Jennifer Song, Min-Ji Park (Kor), Hyun-Kyung Park (Kor), Ji-Hyun Oh (Kor), Yeun-Jung Seo (Kor), Min-Song Ha (Kor), Yu-Jin Sung (Kor)

72 Som-Yeon Ryu (Kor), Elizabeth Szokol, Giulia Molinaro (Ita), Hye-Jin Choi (Kor), Gab-Eun Song (Kor), Ji-Young Park (Kor), Hae-Rym Kim (Kor)

73 Lydia Ko (Nzl), Nanna Koerstz Madsen (Den), Carlota Ciganda (Spa), Sarah Schmelzel, Chella Choi (Kor), Min Lee (Tai), Gab-Young Lee (Kor), Jee-Hyun Ahn (Kor)

74 Wei Ling Hsu (Tai), Ha-Nam Jang (Kor), Yem-Rim Choi (Kor)

75 Amy Yang (Kor), Jenny Shin (Kor), Cheyenne Knight, Han-Sol Ji (Kor)

76 Ji-Hyun Lee (Kor), Sarah Kemp (Aus), Ashleigh Buhai (Rsa), Bronte Law (Eng)

78 Jeong-Eun Lee (Kor)

80 Matilda Castren (Fin)

First round scores from the Zozo Championship (USA unless stated, Par 70)

63 Hiroshi Iwata (Jpn)

64 Hideki Matsuyama (Jpn), Joaquin Niemann (Chi)

65 Matt Wallace (Eng)

66 Brendan Steele

67 Tommy Fleetwood (Eng), Kramer Hickok, Matt Jones (Aus), Ryosuke Kinoshita (Jpn), Adam Schenk, Cameron Tringale, Jhonattan Vegas (Ven)

68 James Hahn, Harry Higgs, Naoyuki Kataoka (Jpn), Troy Merritt, Alexander Noren (Swe), Carlos Ortiz (Mex), Sam Ryder, Shaun Norris (Rsa)

69 Lanto Griffin, Rikuya Hoshino (Jpn), Si Woo Kim (Kor), Chris Kirk, Luke List, Erik van Rooyen (Rsa), Will Zalatoris, Yuki Inamori (Jpn)

70 Keegan Bradley, Wyndham Clark, Rickie Fowler, Brandon Hagy, Garrick Higgo (Rsa), Mackenzie Hughes (Can), Kyoung-Hoon Lee (Kor), Sebastian Munoz (Col), Matthew NeSmith, Tomoharu Otsuki (Jpn), Pat Perez, Xander Schauffele, Kyle Stanley

71 Doug Ghim, Bill Haas, Chesson Hadley, Charley Hoffman, Takumi Kanaya (Jpn), Collin Morikawa, Ryutaro Nagano (Jpn), Naoto Nakanishi (Jpn), Henrik Norlander (Swe), Ryuichi Oiwa (Jpn)

72 Branden Grace (Rsa), Tom Hoge, Shugo Imahira (Jpn), Chan Kim, Adam Long, Tyler McCumber, Ryan Palmer, Roger Sloan (Can), Brendon Todd, Scott Vincent (Zim),

73 Kazuki Higa (Jpn), Satoshi Kodaira (Jpn), Maverick McNealy, Keita Nakajima (Jpn), Andrew Putnam, Tomoyasu Sugiyama (Jpn)

74 Emiliano Grillo (Arg), Ryo Hisatsune (Jpn), Ryuji Imada (Jpn), Sung-Hoon Kang (Kor), Jinichiro Kozuma (Jpn), Sepp Straka (Aut), Robert Streb

75 Wesley Bryan, Peter Malnati

76 Chengtsung Pan (Tai), Doc Redman

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