Leona Maguire battles hard to make cut at Drive On Championship

Tom McKibbin seven shots back at Ras Al Khaimah Championship

When the chips were down, Leona Maguire delivered. The 29-year-old Co Cavan golfer produced a stunning run for home – four birdies in her last eight holes – to ensure her survival in the Drive On Championship at Bradenton, Florida, where a second round 69 for a midway total of level par 142 enabled her to make the cut.

Maguire – in her second event of the new season, having got rid of some rust in last week’s Tournament of Champions – shot an opening round 73 which had put her in danger of missing the cut and she faced an uphill battle after bogeys on the fourth and 10th of her second round, to slip to four-over at that point.

However, Maguire, the world number 26, who hasn’t missed a cut since the LA Championship last April in a run of 16 straight cuts made, responded to the challenge with birdies on the 11th, 14th, 15th and 17th holes to rescue her round and ensure her presence in the field at the €1.7 million tournament for the weekend.

Lydia Ko, winner of last week’s HGV Tournament of Champions, and Ayaka Furue claimed the early clubhouse lead on 135, seven-under.


In the Ras Al Khaimah Championship on the DP World Tour, Tom McKibbin hit the birdie trail on his homeward run with four birdies on the stretch, including back-to-back birdies on the two closing holes, for a second round 68 to reach the halfway stage on seven-under-par 137, seven shots behind 36-hole leaders Rasmus Hojgaard and rookie Manuel Elvira.

Pádraig Harrington bounced back from a missed cut in last week’s Dubai Desert Classic with a bogey-free 67 for 138 (tied-36th) to make the weekend. The 52-year-old Dubliner, recovered from a bout of pneumonia which he suffered over the winter break, opted to start his year’s work in the UAE rather than on the Champions Tour stateside and was rewarded well-crafted round of five birdies.

Elvira repeated the feat of Callum Shinkwin in the opening round by equalling the course record with a scintillating 62 which featured eight birdies and an eagle two on the Par 4 13th. “I got off to the dream start. I was six under through five, birdied the first three and then eagled my fourth hole (13th) and birdied the fifth,” said Elvira, a graduated of the Challenge Tour.

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Philip Reid

Philip Reid

Philip Reid is Golf Correspondent of The Irish Times