Leona Maguire surges into contention at Women’s British Open

Cavan golfer shot a second round 67 while amateur Lauren Walsh is at one under

 Leona Maguire plays her third shot on the first hole during the second round of the AIG Women’s Open at Carnoustie Golf Links. Photo: Andrew Redington/Getty Images

Leona Maguire plays her third shot on the first hole during the second round of the AIG Women’s Open at Carnoustie Golf Links. Photo: Andrew Redington/Getty Images

 

Ireland’s Leona Maguire continued her excellent form this season at Carnoustie as the 26-year-old Cavan native clambered up the leaderboard of the AIG Women’s British Open with a five-under-par 67 in her second round.

It was enough to leave her in a tie for fifth position going into the weekend, two shots behind joint leaders Georgia Hall of England and Mina Harigae of the United States.

Maguire spent time grooving on her putting stroke on Thursday evening on the premise that she “didn’t hole any putts” earlier in the day in an opening level-par 72. It had the desired effect as she racked up birdies on the fourth, fifth and seventh holes to turn in three under on a morning of relatively benign conditions for links golf.

She then took advantage of the two par-fives on the back nine, the 12th and 14th, to register her fourth and fifth birdies and ensured that her round would be blemish free with a superb sand save on the 17th.

She explained: “There are tee shots out there you just have to stand up and hit a really good shot and for the most part, I’ve done that over the last two days, stayed out of all the fairway bunkers there, which was key. You just have to pick your shots and execute really well.”

She showed no ill effects physically or mentally from what has been a busy schedule, playing 10 tournaments in the last three and a half months, including the energy sapping, extreme heat encountered when representing Ireland at the Olympics in Japan.

Maguire explained that she took things pretty easy last week and was re-energised when facing the fifth and final Major. It comes a little under a month since she shot a final-round 61 to claim a tie for sixth place at the Evian Championship; to date her best finish in a Major but one that she would dearly like to eclipse this weekend.

She missed two cuts in successive tournaments having been tied second at the Lotte Championship in Hawaii behind Lydia Ko last April and since then Maguire has finished tied 26th, tied ninth, second, tied 15th, tied 15th, tied sixth and tied 15th not including the Olympics (tied 23rd), a remarkable series of consistently high quality performances.

Georgia Hall is tied for the clubhouse lead. Photo: Andy Buchanan/AFP via Getty Images
Georgia Hall is tied for the clubhouse lead. Photo: Andy Buchanan/AFP via Getty Images

Europe’s Solheim Cup captain Catriona Matthew will confirm her team on Monday and it’ll be a travesty if Maguire doesn’t take one of the wildcard picks; she could remove any scintilla of doubt if she wins at Carnoustie. Maguire has consistently explained that if she concentrates on getting good results then making the team will be one of the attendant benefits, a stance she reiterated after Friday’s round.

The forecast for the weekend’s weather at Carnoustie suggests rain and wind. Maguire is unfazed by the prospect. “Like I said, the golf course is tough as it is, but I suppose at the British Open you expect a little wind and rain. I think it will be no harm.”

Castlewarden’s Lauren Walsh will also play the weekend following a super, three-under 69 and is very much in contention to be the leading amateur in the tournament. The Kildare golfer, whose sister Clodagh is her caddie, signed off with a brace of birdies.

She admitted: “Yeah, I hit two good shots into 17 and 18 and finally got some putts to drop. I played solid [on Thursday] but I didn’t score very well, and I knew coming into [Friday] I could kind of shoot a couple under, try to get myself back up the leaderboard to try and make the cut.”

Walsh acknowledged that an early draw on Friday was perfect with little wind and despite a sprinkling of rain while warming up, very favourable conditions for the early starters. Walsh is two shots behind Scotland’s Louise Duncan (68, 73) in the race to be top amateur.

The Wake Forest student admitted: “Louise played great yesterday and looks like she did okay out there again. It’s a lot of fun. Just coming into the week I was looking to gain some experience of what this atmosphere is like.

“It’s definitely been an incredible experience. Hopefully this is something that I’ll do in the future. It’s just exciting to be part of it now as an amateur and gain that bit of experience moving forward. I’m just soaking it all in.”

Joint-leader Hall threatened to establish an imposing halfway target when she recorded her sixth birdie of the day on the 14th to reach nine under par, only to double bogey the 15th.

The 2018 champion quickly regained her composure to par the difficult last three holes and finish seven under par, joining Harigae at the top of the leaderboard as world number one Nelly Korda slipped off the pace.

South Korea’s Kim Sei-young and American Lizette Salas were a shot off the lead on six under.

Korda goes into the weekend three shots off the lead after carding two birdies and three bogeys in a 73, the Olympic champion having been a combined 87 under par for her previous 21 rounds.

Leaderboard

British and Irish unless stated, par 72, (a) denotes amateur
137
Georgia Hall 68 69, Mina Harigae (USA) 70 67

138 Lizette Salas (USA) 69 69, Sei-Young Kim (Kor) 67 71

139 Yuka Saso (Phi) 68 71, Leona Maguire 72 67, Nanna Koerstz Madsen (Den) 70 69, Wichanee Meechai (Tha) 71 68, Moriya Jutanugarn (Tha) 72 67, Yealimi Noh (USA) 70 69, Alexis Thompson (USA) 69 70

140 Hinako Shibuno (Jpn) 70 70, Min-Jee Lee (Aus) 71 69, Su-Hyun Oh (Aus) 71 69, Brooke Henderson (Can) 71 69, Nelly Korda (USA) 67 73, Madelene Sagstroem (Swe) 67 73

141 Sanna Nuutinen (Fin) 70 71, Jennifer Coleman (USA) 72 69, Eun-Hee Ji (Kor) 72 69, Matilda Castren (Fin) 73 68, Louise Duncan (a) 68 73

142 Ariya Jutanugarn (Tha) 71 71, Stephanie Kyriacou (Aus) 72 70, Jenny Shin (Kor) 71 71, Gerina Piller (USA) 72 70, Marina Alex (USA) 72 70, Nasa Hataoka (Jpn) 70 72, Anna Nordqvist (Swe) 71 71, Paula Reto (Rsa) 72 70

143 Andrea Lee (USA) 68 75, Alice Hewson 73 70, Paphangkorn Tavatanakit (Tha) 71 72, Brittany Lincicome (USA) 71 72, Leonie Harm (Ger) 70 73, Chella Choi (Kor) 71 72, Albane Valenzuela (Swi) 70 73, Lydia Ko (Nzl) 72 71, Hannah Green (Aus) 73 70, Megan Khang (USA) 77 66, Gaby Lopez (Mex) 70 73, Lauren Walsh (a) 74 69, Nicole Broch Larsen (Den) 75 68, Marissa Steen (USA) 73 70

144 Laura Davies 74 70, Stacy Lewis (USA) 73 71, Jeon-Geun Lee (Kor) 72 72, Ayaka Furue (Jpn) 74 70, Felicity Johnson 75 69, Lauren Stephenson (USA) 71 73, Elizabeth Szokol (USA) 72 72, Pajaree Anannarukarn (Tha) 72 72, Perrine Delacour (Fra) 73 71, Atthaya Thitikul (Tha) 71 73, Carlota Ciganda (Esp) 69 75, Jennifer Kupcho (USA) 71 73, Annabell Fuller (a) 71 73

145 In-Bee Park (Kor) 70 75, Emily Kristine Pedersen (Den) 71 74, Jessica Korda (USA) 73 72, Brittany Altomare (USA) 70 75, Christine Wolf (Aut) 73 72, Angel Yin (USA) 73 72, Kelsey MacDonald 75 70, Aditi Ashok (Ind) 71 74, Hae-Ji Kang (Kor) 73 72

Missed cut

146 Austin Ernst (USA) 76 70, Jennifer Song (USA) 75 71, Celine Palomar-Herbin (Fra) 72 74, Mi-Hyang Lee (Kor) 73 73, Sarah Schmelzel (USA) 73 73, Alison Lee (USA) 72 74, Emma Talley (USA) 73 73, Rose Zhang (a) (USA) 72 74, Ssu-Chia Cheng (Tai) 75 71, Lindsey Weaver (USA) 73 73

147 Sophia Popov (Ger) 72 75, Kylie Henry 71 76, Maha Haddioui (Mor) 73 74, Amy Yang (Kor) 75 72, A-Lim Kim (Kor) 76 71, Kristen Gillman (USA) 73 74, Olivia Cowan (Ger) 71 76, Gabriella Cowley 75 72, Cydney Clanton (USA) 75 72, Bronte Law 73 74, Ally Ewing (USA) 72 75, Ashleigh Buhai (Rsa) 73 74, Celine Boutier (Fra) 72 75, Trichat Cheenglab (Tha) 78 69, Agathe Sauzon (Fra) 73 74, Whitney Hillier (Aus) 73 74

148 Laura Fuenfstueck (Ger) 75 73, Sung-Hyun Park (Kor) 76 72, Charley Hull 77 71, Esther Henseleit (Ger) 72 76, Christina Kim (USA) 75 73, Angela Stanford (USA) 72 76, Serena Aoki (Jpn) 75 73, Johanna Gustavsson (Swe) 74 74, Prima Thammaraks (Tha) 76 72

149 In-Gee Chun (Kor) 74 75, Manon de Roey (Bel) 76 73, Azahara Munoz (Esp) 74 75, Chloe Williams 76 73, Ryann O’Toole (USA) 71 78, Erika Hara (Jpn) 75 74, Marianne Skarpnord (Nor) 74 75, Melissa Reid 75 74, Karolin Lampert (Ger) 73 76, Magdalena Simmermacher (Arg) 73 76

150 Mi-Jung Hur (Kor) 72 78, Jodi Ewart 73 77, Katherine Kirk (Aus) 72 78, Ursula Wikstroem (Fin) 78 72, Cheyenne Knight (USA) 78 72, Jaye Marie Green (USA) 75 75, Pia Babnik (Slo) 77 73, Gemma Dryburgh 76 74

151 Annabel Dimmock 73 78, Danielle Kang (USA) 76 75, Aline Krauter (a) (Ger) 74 77, Ingrid Lindblad (a) (Swe) 77 74, Tsubasa Kajitani (a) (Jpn) 76 75, Muni He (Chn) 74 77

152 Caroline Masson (Ger) 73 79, Nuria Iturrioz (Esp) 78 74, Luna Sobron (Esp) 78 74, Giulia Molinaro (Ita) 78 74, Ana Belac (Slo) 72 80, Pornanong Phatlum (Tha) 75 77

153 Catriona Matthew 78 75, Mo Martin (USA) 78 75, Anne van Dam (Ned) 75 78, Amy Olson (USA) 78 75, Pernilla Lindberg (Swe) 75 78, Pannarat Thanapolboonyaras (Tha) 74 79

154 So-Yeon Ryu (Kor) 76 78, Sarah Kemp (Aus) 78 76

155 Lucie Malchirand (Fra) 79 76

156 Cloe Frankish 78 78

162 Kirsten Rudgeley (Aus) (a) 86 76

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