Tokyo 2020 Day 12: Irish showjumpers miss out on medals, Maguire and Meadow start steady

Irish golfers within six of the lead; Watson qualifies for 10m diving semi-finals

Ireland’s Cian O’Connor riding Kilkenny in the individual showjumping final. Photo: Michael Reynolds/EPA

Ireland’s Cian O’Connor riding Kilkenny in the individual showjumping final. Photo: Michael Reynolds/EPA

 
  • Golf: Leona Maguire cards a level par 71 in first round; Stephanie Meadow finishes one over par with a round of 72
  • Diving: Tanya Watson qualifies for women’s 10m platform semi-finals
  • Equestrian: Cian O’Connor best of the Irish in showjumping final but he, Bertram Allen and Darragh Kenny miss out on medals

Equestrian

Cian O’Connor was the best of the Irish in the individual showjumping final on Wednesday but his run on board Kilkenny left him half a second outside the eventual six-finalist jump-off.

O’Connor went clear over all of the fences but his time of 88.45 was less than half a second beyond the allotted 88 seconds, meaning he picked up a single penalty point to finish seventh overall.

Great Britain’s Ben Maher won gold after the jump-off with silver going to Sweden’s Peder Fredricson and Maikel van der Vleuten of the Netherlands taking the bronze.

Bertram Allen on board Pacino Amiro picked up eight penalty points after knocking down two bars in a time of in a time of 84.64 to finish 15th overall while Darragh Kenny and Cartello also picked up eight penalty points in a time of 85.11 for 17th.

You can read Ian O'Riordan's report from Tokyo Equestrian Park here.

Golf

Leona Maguire shot a level par 71 in the first round of the women’s individual stroke play competition while Stephanie Meadow, out in a later group at the Kasumigaseki Country Club, in Saitama, rallied from three over to birdie the 16th and 17th and par the 18th to end her first round at one over par.

Ireland’s Leona Maguire plays a shot during the first round of the women’s individual strokeplay at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics. Photo: Kazuhiro Nogi/AFP via Getty Images
Ireland’s Leona Maguire plays a shot during the first round of the women’s individual strokeplay at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics. Photo: Kazuhiro Nogi/AFP via Getty Images

The two Irish players trail Madelene Sagstrom of Sweden who tops the leaderboard on five under. The Swede shot an opening round of 66 and leads USA’s Nelly Korda and Aditi Ashok from India, who are one shot back.

Maguire birdied the fourth hole and bogeyed the fifth hole in sweltering conditions, then made par to the turn to go out in 36. Two birdies and two bogeys on the back nine secured her level par round, a score with which the 26-year-old was pleased.

“Yeah, I mean it was a bit of a mixed round I would say,” said Maguire. “Didn’t get the hang of my irons today. I felt like but made some good pars when I needed to keep myself going and keep myself in it, which is the most important thing on the first day. Stayed patient and it was nice to put up a birdie on 17 and par on 18.”

The course was set up long and Maguire consistently found herself a long way back off the tee, sometimes 50 yards, from playing partner Bianca Pagdanganan, who is one of the longest hitters on the women’s tour.

Temperatures were touching 35 degrees with the greens beginning to bake and getting faster as the day went on. Stephanie Meadow, the other half of the Irish team, went out in 37 and bogeyed the 10th and 11th holes to go to three over par. However, she rallied to birdie the 16th and the 17th for a one over par round of 72.

Ireland’s Leona Maguire plays a shot during the first round of the women’s individual strokeplay at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics. Photo: Kazuhiro Nogi/AFP via Getty Images
Ireland’s Leona Maguire plays a shot during the first round of the women’s individual strokeplay at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics. Photo: Kazuhiro Nogi/AFP via Getty Images

But Maguire was pleased enough not to have allowed the field to race away too far into the distance. She made some good par saves from four and five feet on the back nine and got up and down from the greenside bunker on 18 to save par and keep her from going over par for the day.

Tokyo 2020

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“I think its fine,” she said of level par. “I don’t see anybody getting away from us today. Its set up longer than the men’s for us. We are going in with a lot longer clubs so it’s a case of trying to take your chances on the shorter holes and there are some tough par fours out there where par is a very good score.

“I felt I was a little unlucky in spots. There were a couple of shots that were maybe a foot of two off and I got punished for them. Maybe a few better breaks tomorrow. I mean we are used to going in with long clubs into the green, yeah, but there are some of those pins where you just have to take your medicine.”

Maguire said it was a different feel to her first Olympic Games in Rio 2016, where her caddy was sister Lisa. She was 21-years-old and still in Duke University and “watching the girls on TV” rather than playing against them.

Last she shot month a superb 61 on the final day of the Amundi Evian Championship in France, equalling the lowest round in women’s Major history. The Cavan golfer made 10 birdies - including four in a row to close out her round - to match the record set by South Korea’s Hyo Joo Kim at the same course in 2014.

“This week you’re part of something bigger than yourself,” said Maguire. “You saw that with the lads, with Shane and Rory. Rory in particular I think didn’t realise it until he was here and you are chatting to other athletes and cheering for them and they want to see you do well.

“It’s just a bit of a different feel. Representing your country is a great honour and doing it at the Olympics is the greatest honour there is.

“I’m probably less in awe of everybody here and focusing in on myself a bit more. These are the girls I am playing with week in week out, as opposed to Rio when they were the girls I watched on TV week in and week out so it has a bit of a different feel. At the same time they are just as good golfers as they were the last time, if not more. I would say the field is a lot stronger here than it was in Rio.”

Meadow was in the doldrums right up to the 16th hole, a 168-yard Par 3. Her approach settled at 12 feet and she dropped the putt for birdie. Then again on the 17th she sank another mid-range putt for birdie before chipping and putting from just off the green on 18 to secure her par for a 72.

“To shoot three over on the first day is an awful lot to come back from but to get it back to one is definitely very encouraging,” said Meadow. “Definitely happy to make those two putts coming in and put a happy note on the end of a kind of crappy round.

“It was mostly irons. I just didn’t have my good iron shots. I missed some short sides and you can’t do that out here. That put myself in a bit of bother and couldn’t get out of it. So, I’m happy to come out with one over with not my best golf.”

In a press release on Wednesday, the International Golf Federation said that, due to a bad weather forecast for the weekend, the competition may be reduced to 54 holes with a further update coming after the completion of the second round tomorrow.

The extreme heat in Tokyo has presented extremely difficult conditions for players and the IGF also said that, “based on our medical advisor’s input, playing more than 18 holes in one day is not advisable.”

After complaints from some players the organisers said that they will have umbreallas available on the first tee for all players and caddies, roving carts with ice and cooling towels and volunteers with umbrellas on each tee.

Diving

Tanya Watson made history in Tokyo when she became the first Irish female diver to compete at the Olympic Games and first to make it through to the semi-finals of the women’s 10m platform in Tokyo’s Aquatic Centre.

Just 19-years-old, Watson was placed 16th in the group of 18 athletes who graduated through from the preliminary round of 30 of the best divers in the world with a score 289.4 points.

Ireland’s Tanya Watson during the women’s 10m platform. Photo: Bryan Keane/Inpho
Ireland’s Tanya Watson during the women’s 10m platform. Photo: Bryan Keane/Inpho

It was Oliver Dingley who made Irish history in Rio when he became the first male Irish diver to make it through to an Olympic final. A disappointed Dingley didn’t qualify this week but Watson stepped in to carry diving centre stage once again.

The Southampton-born athlete was super consistent throughout the five dives, three pikes and two tucks ranging in difficulty from 2.8 to 3.2.

“I feel great, and just excited to go out there again and do my dives and get through again tomorrow,” said Watson. “My first dive was pretty good for me, everything was consistent, so all my dives were on the head. But I just need to work on tomorrow - my entries, there was some splash there which I would like to get rid of.”

Her first effort landed 62.40 points, her highest mark of the five dives. Her strength was that there was very little deviation from that first high mark, keeping her scoring high throughout.

With 57.00, 52.20, 60.20 and 57.60 to finish, Watson ended her routines ahead of the American diver Katrina Young and Malaysia’s Pandelela in 17th and 18th place, China’s Yuxi Chen winning the preliminary round with a score of 390.70.

“My first, second, third, fourth, fifth dives, they were all consistent,” added Watson. “So I’m really, really happy with that. My plan into the semi-finals is that I personally want to enjoy again. I did really good diving today, so I’m really excited to find that again. Also tomorrow, I want to work on my entries into the water.”

The top-12 from the semi-finals, which begin at 2am on Thursday Irish time, will progress through to the final.

“Consistency is key in these moments and that’s exactly what Tanya showed today, she competed with a cool head with solid dives,” said Damian Ball, Irish national head coach for diving. “Today’s score was 18 points higher than the score Tanya achieved to qualify for the Olympic Games. We are looking forward to tomorrow’s semi-final and will fight for a spot in the finals.”

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