Leona Maguire hangs tough in NCAAs

Leona Maguire in action at the Concession. Picture courtesy Lindy Brown, Duke Sports Information

Slieve Russell’s Leona Maguire continued her brutal battle with the Concession in the weather delayed second round of the NCAA Championship in Florida last night.

The Duke star, now No 1 in the World Amateur Golf Ranking, is third overall and three shots off individual leader Annie Park with three holes of her round to complete today.

Duke entered Saturday’s action tied first along with Stanford with five-over-par rounds of 293 but the tough Concession course took its toll on day two and scores soared.

Southern California is five-over and leads the field with a 14-over ledger with Duke in second at 23-over.  Tennessee (+27), Baylor (+28), Purdue (+33), UC Davis (+33), Arizona (+34) and Northwestern (+35) round out the top eight teams.  Only eight teams finished Saturday’s second round, with the leader in the clubhouse being Baylor (+28, 604).  

Team leaderboard

Individual leaderboard

“We are playing a very hard golf course," commented Duke head coach Dan Brooks.  "They play opens so that the winner is right around even par and the best players in this tournament are right around even par. It is really, really tough.  

"The difference between this and the US Open is the players in this tournament are college players. So you end up with a big gap between the ones that are able to get it around in par and the others and it has slowed play down.  It is just a lot of golf course for 24 collegiate teams.   

"It is a tremendous golf course, wonderful.  It is what it is.  We are excited to be playing here.  It is a challenge and we like a challenge.  You will definitely see the best teams separate.”

After opening with a one-under, 71, Leona Maguire struggled on the front nine with three bogeys and six pars as she made the turn with a 39 as sister Lisa added an 85 to her opening 89 to share 130th.

Leona had four straight pars and then rolled in her first birdie of the day on the 392-yard, par four fifth hole to get her to two-over.  Maguire had a par on No. 6 and was on hole seven when play was suspended.  

With three holes remaining in the second round, Maguire is third overall and three shots off individual leader Annie Park of Southern California, who is two-under-par through 11 holes.  

Alabama’s Emma Talley is in the clubhouse with a one-under-par, 143, to rank second.

The second round will resume at 13:25 Irish time, and the third round will kick off at 14:30.  If Duke remains in the top three, the Blue Devils will tee off in the third round during the afternoon.

The forth strokeplay round, which will determine the individual NCAA champion, is scheduled for Monday with the top eight teams qualifying for the the matchplay phase.

The quarter-finals and semi-finals are scheduled for Tuesday with the final, or Championship match, set for Wednesday next