Leona Maguire hangs tough to remain in contention for ...

22 Jun 2024
Leona Maguire

Leona Maguire hung tough to remain very much in contention for a breakthrough major win in the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship at Sahalee Golf Club, in the suburbs of Seattle. Maguire added a second round 71 to her opening 70 for a midway total of three-under-par 141, in tied-sixth place, three shots behind midway leader Sarah Schmelzel,

Among the high-profile casualties who failed to survive the 36-hole cut was world number one Nelly Korda, who carded a horror 81 in her second round to go from a share of second to packing her suitcase.

“It’s just golf recently for me,” Korda said, through tears. “No words for how I’m playing right now. I’m just going to go home and reset.” It was a third straight missed cut for Korda, who had dominated the LPGA Tour this season – winning six of her first eight starts, including five-in-a-row – only to suffer a dramatic loss of form.

For Maguire, a two-time career winner on the LPGA Tour, a second round 71 – patiently crafted on the tree-lined course – enabled her to stay very much in the mix heading into the weekend.

The 29-year-old Cavan golfer’s round featured five birdies, two bogeys and a double bogey. That double came on the par three 17th but Maguire recovered from that setback to close with a birdie on the 18th, where she almost reached the green in two on the par five and made an up-and-down to find some momentum to bring into the third round.

Of plotting a way around a course that has firmed-up in recent days, Maguire explained her strategy: “I think it’s a balance between risk-reward. You can be that bit more greedy off the tee to give yourself a shorter chance in, especially now that they’re firming up. But, at the same time, some of those necks and those fairways get really narrow with the overhang, and they’re just narrow period.

“So, yeah, it’s just getting that balance right of knowing when to attack and when to be smart about it... it’s definitely you kind of have to be patient, but at the same time, not be too conservative with the fact that the greens are drying out. You don’t want too long of a club in your hands, so you just have to get that balance right.”

Maguire had missed the cut in the season’s opening two majors, the Chevron and the US Open, but adopted a different approach – to be “kinder” to herself – for this latest quest for a maiden major title and has reaped the rewards.

Stephanie Meadow, however, failed to advance to the weekend after adding a 78 to her opening 77 for 155 to miss the cut.

In the Travelers championship on the PGA Tour, Shane Lowry – again going low – shot a brilliant 62 for a midway total of nine-under-par 131 to lie in tied-sixth, four shots behind midway leader Tom Kim of South Korea.

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