Meadow remains in mix; Leona cruising; Irish blues in Spain and Morocco
Stephanie Meadow

Stephanie Meadow

Stephanie Meadow knows she has the game to win on the LPGA Tour and she sees no reason why it can't be this week.

The Team Ireland star (27) needs a top-ten finish "at least" in the Volunteers of America Classic in Texas to avoid a return trip the Q-Series.

But while she couldn't reproduce her first-round fireworks and followed a career-low, eight-under 63 with a level par 71, she still ended the day just one stroke behind Canada's Alena Sharp and Americans Brittany Altomare and Cheyenne Knight.

After winning the ISPS Handa World Invitational in Ballymena in August, she's keen to taste victory again.

"I'm going to fight my butt off to be back here, and not just be back here, but winning tournaments and whatever top number you want to say," Meadow said. "That's what I want."

Last night she added: "I know I can win, I did it on Symetra, and I did it in Ireland a couple of weeks ago.

"I know I can handle myself. Yeah, this might be a bigger stage, but I know I can still do it. It's the same concept. So, I'm excited for the weekend. I can't wait to get started."

Leona Maguire, meanwhile, took another massive step towards clinching her LPGA Tour card at the season-ending Symetra Tour Championship in Florida.

Ranked fifth in the money list with the top-10 winning cards tomorrow, she followed a 69 with a two-under 70 to share 29th on five-under-par at halfway, just six shots behind Spain's Nuria Itturioz. Scores

The Spaniard, who won earlier this season, shot a five-under 67 to lead by two shots in the $300,000 where the winner takes home $45,000 - the biggest winner's payout ever on the "Road to the LPGA".

As things stand, she's projected to move up to fourth in the standings with Leona set to fall two spots to seventh:

1. Perrine Delacour (Paris, France) - $123,209

2. Patty Tavatanakit (Bangkok, Thailand) - $118,368

3. Ssu-Chia Cheng (Taipei, Chinese Taipei) - $100,383

4. Nuria Iturrioz - $98,337

5. Jillian Hollis (Rocky River, Ohio) - $97,952 

6. Julieta Granada (Asuncion, Paraguay) - $97,635

7. Leona Maguire (County Cavan, Ireland) - $92,638

8. Jenny Coleman (Rolling Hills Estates, California) - $92,388

9. Robynn Ree (Redondo Beach, California) - $87,651 

10. Esther Lee (Los Alamitos, California) - $84,923 

11. Mind Muangkhumsakul (Banphai, Thailand) - $81,046

12. Kyung Kim (Chandler, Arizona) - $72,805

13. Min Seo Kwak (Seoul, Republic of Korea) - $72,239

Spaniards occupied the top four spots in the Open de España in Madrid, where Ireland's Gavin Moynihan, Michael Hoey and Paul Dunne all missed the level par cut.

Rafa Cabrera Bello shot a six-under 65 as Adri Arnaus posted a 66 to leave them one shot clear of local invitee Samuel del Val on 11-under with Jon Rahm just two behind after a 67.

Moynihan missed out by four shots after a 72 while Dunne's six birdies were in vain as he shot 73 to miss his 11th cut this year, finishing alongside Hoey, who shot 75, on six-over.

On the Challenge Tour, first-round leader Robin Dawson must pick himself up after he followed his opening 64 with a 79 to slip to tied 31st in the Lalla Aïcha Challenge Tour in Morocco.

He's back to one-under and nine shots behind France's Antoine Rozner, who can clinch instant promotion if he claims his third win of the season at Royal Golf Dar Es Salam.

Peter Baker's six-under 66 gave him the lead the Farmfoods European Senior Masters at the Forest of Arden where Philip Walton shot 75 and 66-year old Des Smyth a 76 in what could be one of his last appearances on tour.

Smyth indicated at the start of the season that he was coming towards the end of his career though there is still a chance he will play a handful of events in 2020.