Leona joint leader; McElroy contending; Interpros drama
Leona Maguire

Leona Maguire

Leona Maguire’s recent trip home appears to have worked wonders after she roared out of the blocks in the Sioux Falls GreatLife Challenge to grab a share of the first round lead

The Co Cavan star fire bogey-free, five-under 65 to top the leaderboard with Sweden's Linnea Strom at Willow Run Golf Club in South Dakota, finishing the day two shots clear of Michelle Piyapattra, Dottie Ardina, Finland's Emily Penttila and Sweden's Julia Engstrom.

Maguire needs a win to move close to the top 10 in the money list who win LPGA Tour cards but Stephanie Meadow, who is second in that list, shot a three-over 73 on day one and share 61st spot. Scores

Made in Denmark - Ryder Cup battle grows intriguing

On the European Tour, Ryder Cup hopefuls Thorbjørn Olesen, Matt Fitzpatrick and Eddie Pepperell endured mixed fortunes in the Made in Denmark at Silkeborg.

While England’s Jonathan Thomson fired an eight-under 64 to open up a two-shot lead over Matt Baldwin, Christiaan Bezuidenhout, Lukas Bjerregaard, Josh Geary and Brett Rumford at Silkeborg, all eyes are on the race to make Thomas Bjorn's team.

The eight automatic qualifiers will be finalised after Sunday’s final round with Bjorn scheduled to announce his four captain’s picks next Wednesday.

Danish star Olesen needs to finish in a tie for seventh place with one other player or better to guarantee a Ryder Cup debut. 

But he needed two birdies in his last three holes to post a one-over 73 yesterday.

“I didn’t play well today, didn’t have a tempo in my swing," Olesen said. "If you play well, there’s a lot of chances out there, but if you don’t play well, it’s a really difficult course, and unfortunately I didn’t play well.

“I was a bit nervous on the first tee but other than that I felt good out there."

Pepperell (70) and Fitzpatrick (72) must win to pass Olesen but both have work to do as they lie 39th and 71st respectively while Belgian Thomas Pieters, a possible captain’s pick, is tied 29th after a 69.

“I’ve got to win this golf tournament so if I want to do that I’ve got to play better than I have done today,” Pepperell said, insisting the Ryder Cup was more an inspiration than a distraction. 

"I've got to start to feel more comfortable with my swing and that's where all my focus is really lying."

McElroy in the mix

On the Challenge Tour, Ballymena's Dermot McElroy made seven birdies in eight holes and six in a row from the 10th as he opened with a super 64 in the Challenge Tour's Cordon Golf Open in France.

The former West of Ireland champion (25) is tied for second with Jamie Abbott and Italy's Alessandro Tadini on six-under par, two shots behind Portugal's José-Filipe Lima, who made seven birdies and an eagle in a 62.

Michael Hoey is the next best of the Irish, tied for 17th after a 67 with Jonny Caldwell tied for 25th after a two-under 68.

Interpros - Connacht have edge in tight contest

In the men's Interprovincial Championship, all four provinces can still win the title heading into the final day at Athenry.

A top class performance from Munster in the singles secured a convincing 8.5-2.5 victory against Connacht as Leinster got their four-in-a-row bid back on track with a 7.5-3.5 win over Ulster.

With Connacht playing Ulster on the final day and Leinster facing off against Munster, the hosts may have the edge.

Interprovincial Championship, Athenry Golf Club

Detailed scores

Day two

Connacht 2.5 Munster 8.5 (Connacht names first)

  1. A Gleeson & S Flanagan lost to A McCormack & C Butler 3&2;
  2. A Hill & D Kitt lost to J Sugrue & E Griffin 2&1;
  3. R Mullarney & J McDonnell beat G O’Flaherty & P O’Keeffe 5&4;
  4. J Lyons & TJ Ford halved with J Hickey & G Lenehan;
  5. A Gleeson lost to J Sugrue 1H;
  6. A Hill lost to E Griffin 2H;
  7. R Mullarney lost to P O’Keeffe 1H;
  8. J McDonnell lost to A McCormack 1H;
  9. TJ Ford beat C Butler 3&2;
  10. J Lyons lost to J Hickey 4&3;
  11. D Kitt lost to G O'Flaherty 3&2.

Ulster 3.5 Leinster 7.5 (Ulster names first)

  1. R Black & R Dutton lost to C Rafferty & E Smith beat 2&1;
  2. M McKinstry & M Norton halved with J Yates & R Brazill;
  3. T McLarnon & M McClean lost to A Fahy & C Denvir 2H;
  4. P Kerr & R Williamson halved with R Cannon & R Moran;
  5. T McLarnon halved with C Rafferty;
  6. R Black beat J Yates 1H;
  7. P Kerr beat R Cannon 2&1;
  8. M McClean lost to R Brazill 1H;
  9. M McKinstry lost to A Fahy 5&4;
  10. R Dutton lost to E Smith 4&3;
  11. M Norton lost to C Denvir 2H.


Ulster v Connacht: (0800)


  1. T McLarnon & M McClean v D Kitt & A Hill;
  2. M McKinstry & M Norton v A Gleeson  & S Flanagan;
  3. R Black & R Dutton v J Lyons & TJ Ford;
  4. R Williamson & P Kerr v R Mullarney & J McDonnell.

Munster v Leinster (0840)


  1. A McCormack & C Butler v C Rafferty & E Smith;
  2. J Sugrue & E Griffin v J Yates & R Brazill;
  3. G Lenehan & P O’Keeffe v A Fahey & C Denvir;
  4. G O’Flaherty & J Hickey v R Cannon & R Moran.