Leona just three back in Atlantic City

Leona just three back in Atlantic City
Leona Maguire

Leona Maguire

Leona Maguire got her professional career off to an impressive start when she defied gusting winds to open with a two-under 69 in the ShopRite LPGA Classic.

The Co Cavan star (23) finished the day tied for 28th, just three shots behind American Laura Diaz after getting the tough side of the draw.

Twin sister Lisa shot an 84 early in the day, tangling too often with the deep fescue rough that lines otherwise generous fairways the Stockton Seaview Hotel and Golf Club's Bay Course just outside Atlantic City.

But Leona was still disappointed to play the par-fives in level par and hopes to take full advantage of an early start in calmer conditions today.


"I left quite a few out there, but these greens get bumpy in the afternoon," said the former world amateur number one who said she felt relaxed alongside former college rivals Maddie McCrary (72) and Lauren Coughlin (73).

Lisa Maguire

Lisa Maguire

"I played steady and did what I wanted to do which was hit a lot of greens and a lot of fairways and give myself a lot of chances. 

"Hopefully I can do the same tomorrow and holed a few more putts and we will be laughing."

Starting on the back nine, she got off to a solid starting, ripping a drive straight down the middle before spinning a wedge back to seven feet and rolling in the birdie putt.

Hitting the ball superbly from tee to green, she parred the next five holes before moving to two-under with a 30 footer at the 16th.

She was disappointed the bogey the par-five 18th, her ninth, when he spun her approach off the front and failed to get up and down.

But she saved a great par at the second, birdied the par-five third to get back to two-under and was left to rue a missed birdie chance from just four feet at the seventh.

Sister Lisa showed glimpses of her undoubted class but paid dearly for all her mistakes, losing a ball off her first drive to open with a disconcerting double bogey.

"That rough is long out there, and you have to stay out of it,” Lisa said. “It's just hard out there, and you have to be on top of everything. You can't make that many mistakes."

Diaz shot a five-under 66 to take the early clubhouse lead before being joined late in the day by Herbin and Nordqvist, one stroke ahead of a nine-strong bunch that included Galway-born Alison Walshe and New Zealand's Lydia Ko.