On-fire Maguire takes two-shot LPGA lead

  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
·3-min read
In this article:
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.

Leona Maguire shot a tournament record eight-under-par 62 to take a two-stroke lead on the opening day of the Pelican Women's Championship.

The Irish Solheim Cup star holed eight birdies in a bogey-free opening round in Belleair, Florida.

Maguire played alongside defending champion Sei Young Kim and Lexi Thompson and no one in the group made bogey at Pelican Golf Club on a day ideal for scoring.

Maguire is still trying to become Ireland's first winner on the LPGA Tour. Her best result is a runner-up finish at tournaments in Michigan and Hawaii this year.

For now, she happily is best known for going unbeaten in five matches to lead Europe to a Solheim Cup victory two months ago.

Maguire put on a clinic by hitting every fairway and taking only 24 putts.

"It was just really, really solid," she said. "Hit a lot of greens gave myself a lot of chances and rolled in some nice putts. ... Yeah, it's all just clicking nicely."

It helped to have her coach, Shane O'Grady, with her for the week. It's the first time he has watched her play in person since she was on her way to getting an LPGA Tour card at the end of 2019. O'Grady has been grounded in Ireland by COVID-19 since then.

Kim, who won by three shots last year in the inaugural event, opened with three straight birdies until cooling slightly, staying in range of Maguire with an eagle on the par-5 14th.

"I didn't check the leaderboard so I thought because my group really play well, I expect everyone play good," Kim said. "I check the leaderboard, and, yeah, our group just really played well. So, yeah we all feed (off) each other really."

Thompson was in the large group at 65 that included Nelly Korda, who returned to No.1 in the women's world ranking this week and is competing on the LPGA Tour for only the second time since a rough Solheim Cup showing.

The group at 65 also included Lauren Coughlin, among the last to get into the field, Nasa Hataoka and former Women's PGA champion Danielle Kang.

Jin Young Ko, with a narrow lead over Korda in the points race for LPGA player of the year, was slowed by a pair of bogeys after making the turn and had to settle for a 68.

Fifty players from the 108-player field broke par.

Two of those included Australians Su Oh (two under) and Katherine Kirk (par).

Oh is joint 23rd after posting five birdies and three bogeys while Kirk (three birdies, three bogeys) is in a tie for 51st.

This is the final tournament for the top 60 in the Race to the CME Globe to qualify for the CME Group Tour Championship next week down the Gulf Coast in Naples, where all 60 players will have a shot at the $1.5 million prize.

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting