It was about 20 ft, possibly a number of inches much less, simply down the autumn line. Leona Maguire watched her ultimate birdie putt from Saturday afternoon from all angles. There isn’t any doubt she’d had this one earlier than. There are few putts at Tiburon Golf Membership that this area hasn’t seen. However for Maguire, 18 meant a bit extra. Not solely would which have given him sole possession of the lead heading into the ultimate spherical of the CME Group Tour Championship, however the putt would have equaled the course report on a windy day when nobody noticed that form of spherical coming.
Maguire did not birdie. The putt slid low and left. However she made a 2-footer on her approach again for par to shoot 63 and enter the ultimate spherical at 15 below par, tied for the lead with first- and second-round chief Lydia Ko. Each are 5 strokes behind. forward of their nearest pursuer.
“My caddy has been speaking so much about endurance this week and being dedicated to reaching my targets,” Maguire mentioned. “I did that basically properly right this moment and had a number of rolls early on, gained momentum and yeah, it is good to see a number of (putts) go down.”
Typical Irish understatement. Leona rolled in putts left and proper, together with a 35-for-16 for the fourth of 5 birdies she posted on the again 9. The overall depend was 9 with out bogeys, a lap that veteran caddy Dean Herden, who works for In Gee Chun, known as “extremely spectacular in these circumstances”.
Chun performed with Maguire final week within the Pelican Ladies’s Championship and Herden mentioned, “She drives it so properly. These sorts of driver’s knuckle balls went via the wind. It is the proper ball flight for this course and these circumstances.
Maguire agreed. “The opening seemed large,” she mentioned. “I used to be making an attempt to hit it as shut as potential. Hit some very nice 5 and 6 hybrids on these few holes (in) the wind. Simply obtained known as right this moment.
“You completely have to manage your ball flight, decide your pictures. I believe it is good to return again right here a number of occasions. I really feel like I’ve a greater sense yearly I come again right here. So sure, you simply must take an opportunity the place you get them on sure holes and know which holes that par is an effective rating. I gave myself a number of probabilities and I took nearly all of them.
These are the small print of a rare day for the Irishwoman who claimed her first profession win earlier this 12 months a number of miles north of Naples within the Drive On Championship at Crown Colony.
However the information do not seize the emotion. Watching Maguire compete is like sitting at ringside in a struggle. Each driver swing is sort of a laborious proper cross, each iron a stiff uppercut, and each putt a wonderfully timed jab. Behind his Terminator goggles and with a one-piece stroll and three-piece higher, Maguire makes each shot thrilling and each second particular.
Perhaps it is the truth that no a part of his sport is extraordinary. It isn’t significantly lengthy and it does not have a magic contact with wedges. She wears a 9 wooden for goodness sake. However her grit makes her one of the compelling gamers within the sport, somebody who squeezes each ounce out of her sport.
“I really feel like the standard lengthy hitters have carried out properly round this golf course,” Maguire mentioned. “I am not a protracted hitter by any means, however I really feel like I’ve made my approach on the course very well and actually performed to my strengths.”
One in every of its strengths is match play. On the Solheim Cup in Toledo final 12 months, she went unbeaten in 5 matches and was heralded by her victorious European teammates because the inspirational match chief. Sunday is not fairly a match-play state of affairs – Jeongeun Lee6 and Gemma Dryburgh are 5 pictures behind and Brook Henderson is six pictures to the lead with unhealthy climate within the forecast – however taking part in one-on-one with Ko is strictly the place Maguire desires to be.
“It is nonetheless a move-part occasion,” she mentioned. “I really feel prefer it’s the form of golf course the place you must deal with each shot you may. You possibly can’t be distracted in any approach. There are a number of tips. I So I’ll play the perfect I can tomorrow. No matter Lydia does, Lydia does. Identical to I did right this moment, I did not actually take a look at the leaderboards right this moment. I am going to do the identical factor tomorrow and we’ll see what occurs.
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