Leona Maguire proving she can mix with the best at Women’s British Open
Meanwhile, Olivia Mehaffey struggled a little as she wound up firing a three over par 75
Ireland’s Leona Maguire with her twin sister and caddie Lisa Maguire during day one of the Ricoh Women’s British Open at Woburn Golf Club. Photo: Nick Potts/PA Wire
Leona Maguire showed once again that she can perform on the world stage and hold her own with some of the superstars of the game on the opening day at Woburn Golf Club.
The Curtis Cup star from Slieve Russell, who has been producing high-quality golf since the start of her teenage years, took to the Woburn Course and the Ricoh British Women’s Open in confident mood – and did not let herself or Ireland down.
Maguire, now at Duke University in California, fired a one-under-par 71 and is on course to make the halfway cut in this prestigious Major.
The 21-year-old Cavan player was steadiness personified, She dropped her only stroke of the round at the third but then birdied both seven and nine on her way to making the turn in 35.
She came home with nine straight pars adding a 36 to her outward half total.
Maguire goes into the second round some nine strokes adrift of leader Mirim Lee of Korea who has a three-stroke lead over nearest challenger Thailand’s Ariya Jutarnugarn.
She upstaged many established professionals and is a mere stroke behind the world’s number one amateur Hannah O’Sullivan.
Olivia Mehaffey, the 17-year-old Irish champion from Royal Co Down certainly did not disgrace herself but found the going a little tougher than Maguire.
Out in 36 with a dropped stroke on the opening hole and a birdie on the third Mehaffey, who captured the bronze medal at the European Championships in Sweden last weekend, slipped up a little on the homeward stretch, dropping strokes on 11, 13 and 17 for a 39 and a total of three over par 75.
Settled the nerves Meanwhile, Charley Hull had never been more nervous on a golf course before teeing off in her national championship at her home club.
A birdie at the first hole settled the nerves and, in front of a fine opening day crowd willing her on, the 20-year-old was quite content with a first round of three-under-par 69.
Even better, she was five strokes in front of one of her playing partners, Lydia Ko, the world number one and, at 19, one of the most dominant forces in any sport. Unfortunately, it was a rare off day for Ko, so Hull was still some way behind the leader, Lee, who opened with a spectacular 62, 10 under par and a course record.
In addition to Ko and Hull there were plenty of players worth following as the Women’s Open returned to the Bedfordshire venue for the first time since 1999.
One was Lee, who said she did “everything perfect”, as she collected 10 birdies, including five in a row from the seventh. Another was 15-year-old Swede Julia Engstrom, who had four birdies going out but faded with five bogeys to finish. Most gallant Perhaps the most gallant performance came from Liz Young, who may be playing her last tournament for a while.
The 33-year-old from Hampshire is, after all, seven months pregnant but after a good start to the season was determined to tee up here. Though an opening 73 will leave her in a battle to make the cut, just having the chance to play in a major championship was not to be missed.
Collated first round scores in the RICOH Women’s British Open, Woburn GC, Milton Keynes, England
(Gbr & Irl unless stated, par 72):
(a) denotes amateurs)
62 Mirim Lee (Kor)
65 Aryia Jutanugarn (Tha)
66 Shanshan Feng (Chn)
67 Mi Hyang Lee (Kor), Stacy Lewis (USA)
68 Ha Na Jang (Kor), Azahara Munoz (Spa), Alena Sharp (Can), Mo Martin (USA), Sarah-Jane Smith (Aus)
69 Mika Miyazato (Jpn), Karrie Webb (Aus), In Kyung Kim (Kor), Sei Young Kim (Kor), Beatriz Recari (Spa), Brittany Lincicome (USA), (a) Maria Parra (Spa), Charley Hull, Yani Tseng (Tai), So Yeon Ryu (Kor), Teresa Lu (Tai), Moriya Jutanugarn (Tha)
70 Catriona Matthew, Beth Allen (USA), Sandra Gal (Ger), Camilla Lennarth (Swe), Jennifer Song (USA), Vicky Hurst (USA), Hannah O’Sullivan (a) (USA), Bronte Law
71 Marina Alex (USA), Laetitia Beck (Isr), Tiffany Joh (USA), Maude-Aimee Leblanc (Fra), Angel Yin (USA), Brittany Altomare (USA), Megan Khang (USA), Minjee Lee (Aus), Brooke M. Henderson (Can), Jodi Ewart Shadoff, Ashleigh Simon (Rsa), Luna Sobron (Spa), Angela Stanford (USA), Alison Lee (USA), (a) Leona Maguire
72 Felicity Johnson, Cristie Kerr (USA), Melissa Reid, Ryann O’Toole (USA), Amy Boulden, In Gee Chun (Kor), Brittany Lang (USA), Cydney Clanton (USA), Jiyai Shin (Kor), Isabella Ramsay (Swe), Annie Park (USA), Marta Sanz Barrio (Spa), Lexi Thompson (USA), Maria McBride (Swe), Candie Kung (Tai), Sung Hyun Park (Kor), Ai Suzuki (Jpn), Nicole Broch Larsen (Den), Anna Nordqvist (Swe), Gaby Lopez (Mex), Haru Nomura (Jpn), Hee kyung Bae (Kor), Lizette Salas (USA), Isabelle Boineau (Fra)
73 Emily K Pedersen (Den), Cheyenne Woods (USA), Nuria Iturrios (Spa), Kelly Shon (USA), Karine Icher (Fra), Jenny Shin (USA), Kim Kaufman (USA), Nanna Koerstz Madsen (Den), Liz Young, Lee-Anne Pace (Rsa), Yukari Nishiyama (Jpn), Suzann Pettersen (Nor), Su-hyun Oh (Kor), Ai Miyazato (Jpn), Gerina Piller (USA), Lydia Hall, Na Yeon Choi (Kor), Paula Reto (Rsa), Pernilla Lindberg (Swe)
74 Lina Boqvist (Swe), Chloe Leurquin (Bel), Holly Clyburn, Pornanong Phatlum (Tha), Becky Morgan, Carlota Ciganda (Spa), Hee Young Park (Kor), Mina Harigae (USA), Mariajo Uribe (Col), Nontaya Srisawang (Tha), Sun Young Yoo (Kor), Eun-Hee Ji (Kor), Christina Kim (USA), Lydia Ko (Nzl), Wei-Ling Hsu (Tai), Sakura Yokomine (Jpn), Laura Davies, Mi Jung Hur (Kor)
75 Chella Choi (Kor), Marianne Skarpnord (Nor), Charlotte Ellis, Jacqui Concolino (USA), Gwladys Nocera (Fra), Austin Ernst (USA), Jessica Korda (USA), Jing Yan (Chn), Rebecca Artis (Aus), Brianna Do (USA), (a) Olivia Mehaffey, Hyo Joo Kim (Kor), Momoko Ueda (Jpn), Katie Burnett (USA), Danielle Kang (USA), Kelly Tan (Mas)
76 Ilhee Lee (Kor), Caroline Masson (Ger), Lee Lopez (USA), Paula Creamer (USA), Michelle Wie (USA), Asuka Kashwabara (Tai), Anne Van Dam (Ned), Florentyna Parker, Julia Engstrom (Swe)
77 Linda Wessberg (Swe), Caroline Hedwall (Swe), Georgia Hall, Morgan Pressel (USA), Q Baek (Kor), Noora Tamminen (Fin)
78 Xi Yu Lin (Chn), Maha Haddioui (Mar), Kylie Walker, Stacey Keating (Aus)
79 Pamela Pretswell, Aditi Ashok (a) (Ind)
80 Amelia Lewis (USA)