Meadow and Maguire with work to do at US Women’s Open

Two Irish players need improvements in their second rounds if they are to make the cut

Stephanie Meadow tees off the second tee during the first round of the US Women’s Open in Charleston. Photo: Steve Helber/AP Photo

Stephanie Meadow tees off the second tee during the first round of the US Women’s Open in Charleston. Photo: Steve Helber/AP Photo

 

Stephanie Meadow never stopped trying, and her resolve was finally rewarded with a birdie on her finishing hole as the 27-year-old Northern Irishwoman opened with a 74, three-over-par, in the 74th edition of the US Women’s Open at the Country Club of Charleston in South Carolina.

One shot further back is Leona Maguire who signed for a 75 after dropping two shots in her final two holes.

Meadow’s quest for a birdie had proven fruitless until she reached the 533 yards Par 5 ninth, her closing hole. Up to that point, she’d run up four bogeys – on the 13th, first, third and sixth holes – but gamely stuck to her task to at least finish with some momentum in her bid to survive the 36-holes cut.

Maguire – who has won twice this year on the Symetra Tour and looks to be well on the way to securing her LPGA Tour card – fought back from a double bogey at the second and a bogey at the sixth with birdies at the seventh and ninth. However, a dropped shot at the 11th and two more at the 17th and 18th saw her finish the day in a tie for 101st with plenty of work to do if she is to make the cut.

Japan’s Mamiko Higa shot a superb bogey-free six-under-par 65 to claim the clubhouse lead, a stroke clear of Germany’s Esther Henseleit and American amateur Gina Kim.

Higa, ranked 49th in the Rolex world rankings, required just 27 putts in her opening round to claim the early lead. A winner on the Japan LPGA Tour earlier this season, Higa, who is chasing a first Major title, arrived in Charleston last Saturday to prepare. “I didn’t expect much, to come and play that well,” she observed.

Henseleit, with six top-10 finishes on the Ladies European Tour so far this season, only earned her spot in the field as an alternate from the international qualifier in London and is playing professional for the first time in the United States.

“It’s a completely new experience for me to play here, and the grandstands are huge and very many people around, but I don’t feel like that it’s too much for me. So I really like that. I really like to play in front of many people,” said the German.

American Nelly Korda, the world number 11, claimed “something just clicked on the range” ahead of opening her championship bid. Korda – who won the Australian Open in January in a fast start to the season which included five top-10s in her first six appearances – opened with a two-under par 69 .

“Throughout your career, you’re going to go through ups and down and not feel 100 percent with your game,” said Korda, who has struggled with her game of late including a missed cut in the recent LA Open. “Last week (in Williamsburg) I was a little bit iffy, so today I actually got my feeling back a little bit more and started hitting it more at pins like I used to be. I think it’s just (a) mental (thing).”

Collated first round scores in the U.S. Women’s Open, Country Club of Charleston, Charleston, South Carolina, United States of America (USA unless stated, par 71):

65 Mamiko Higa (Jpn)

66 Esther Henseleit (Ger), (a) Gina Kim

67 Celine Boutier (Fra)

68 Azahara Munoz (Spa), Sei Young Kim (Kor)

69 Jenny Shin, Misuzu Narita (Jpn), Jessica Korda, Nelly Korda, (a) Andrea Lee, Carlota Ciganda (Spa), Yu Liu (Chn)

70 Emma Talley, Morgan Pressel, Lexi Thompson, Ryann O’Toole, Caroline Masson (Ger), Inbee Park (Kor), Brittany Altomare, Jeongeun Lee (Kor), Karine Icher (Fra), Jennifer Song, Gerina Piller

71 Mi Hyang Lee (Kor), Olafia Kristinsdottir (Isl), Minjee Lee (Aus), So Yeon Ryu (Kor), Austin Ernst, Sarah Schmelzel, Jaye Marie Green, Mirim Lee (Kor), Jennifer Kupcho, Dottie Ardina (Phl), Sung Hyun Park (Kor), Hyo Joo Kim (Kor), (a) Yuka Saso (Phl), Mariah Stackhouse, Thidapa Suwannapura (Tha), Moriya Jutanugarn (Tha), Anne Van Dam (Ned), Lizette Salas

72 Chella Choi (Kor), Amy Yang (Kor), Supamas Sangchan (Tha), Megan Khang, Ally McDonald, Brooke M. Henderson (Can), Maria Torres (Pue), Jin Young Ko (Kor), Eri Okayama (Jpn), Aditi Ashok (Ind), Marina Alex, Ariya Jutanugarn (Tha), Angel Yin, Eun-Hee Ji (Kor), Nasa Hataoka (Jpn), Lydia Ko (Nzl), Maria Fassi (Mex), Charley Hull (Eng), Lindy Duncan, Hina Arakaki (Jpn), Wei-Ling Hsu (Tai), Minami Katsu (Jpn), Gaby Lopez (Mex), Bronte Law (Eng), Saranporn Langkulgasettrin (Tha)

73 Nanna Koerstz Madsen (Den), Haeji Kang (Kor), Aia Suzuki (Jpn), Paula Creamer, Jodi Ewart Shadoff (Eng), (a) Megan Furtney, Pornanong Phatlum (Tha), Jimin Kang (Kor), Katherine Kirk (Aus), Danielle Kang, (a) Leonie Harm (Ger), Jing Yan (Chn), Shanshan Feng (Chn), Jenny Haglund (Swe)

74 (a) Jiwon Jeon (Kor), Stephanie Meadow (NIrl), Jeong Eun Lee (Kor), Dori Carter, In Gee Chun (Kor), Jacqui Concolino, Ayako Uehara (Jpn), Fatima Fernandez Cano (Spa), Wichanee Meechai (Tha), Paphangkorn Tavatanakit (Tha), Charlotte Thomas (Eng), Marissa Steen, (a) Kaitlyn Papp, Amy Ruengmateekhun, Ashleigh Buhai (Rsa), Sakura Yokomine (Jpn), Na Yeon Choi (Kor), Jiyu Jung (Kor), Pernilla Lindberg (Swe)

75 Georgia Hall (Eng), Sierra Brooks (a), Sandra Gal (Ger), Rose Zhang (a), Pannarat Thanapolboonyaras (Tha), Su Oh (Aus), Anna Nordqvist (Swe), (a) Jennifer Chang, (a) Albane Valenzuela (Swi), Pei-yun Chien (Chn), (a) Alexa Pano, Tiffany Chan (Hkg), (a) Gabriela Ruffels (Aus), Leona Maguire (Irl), (a) Shannon Johnson, Megan Osland

76 Ingrid Gutierrez Nunez (Mex), Cristie Kerr, Brittany Lang, Jane Park, Haruka Amamoto (Jpn), Hannah Green (Aus), Angela Stanford, Sarah Kemp (Aus)

77 Karrie Webb (Aus), Emma Albrecht, (a) Celeste Dao (Can), Amy Olson, (a) Ty Akabane, Babe Liu (Tpe), Ji-hyun Kim (Kor), Stacy Lewis, (a) Nanako Ueno (Jpn)

78 (a) Sabrina Iqbal, (a) Yuri Yoshida (Jpn), Caroline Hedwall (Swe), (a) Brigitte Dunne, Amanda Hollandsworth, Hayley Davis (Eng), Delfina Acosta (Arg), Heather Young

79 Rachel Rohanna, Jiyai Shin (Kor), (a) Auston Kim, Suzuka Yamaguchi (Jpn), Annie Park

80 Yan Liu (Chn), Prima Thammaraks (Tha), (a) Karoline Stormo (Nor), Laura Davies (Eng)

81 (a) Megha Ganne

82 Naomi Ko (Can)

83 (a) Dasom Mor (Kor), (a) Paris Hilinski

84 Lucrezia Colombotto Rosso (Ita)

89 (a) Reagan Zibilski

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