Leona Maguire through to knockout stages of Bank of Hope LPGA Match-Play in Las Vegas
Leona Maguire was thrilled to produce her best golf of the week to beat South Korea's Narin An 5&3 and clinch her place in the knockout stages of the Bank of Hope LPGA Match-Play in Las Vegas.
While she lost the first hole to a birdie, the Co Cavan star birdied the third, fourth and fifth and claimed the sixth and eighth in par to go four up at Shadow Creek.
Maguire turned three up, and made six successive pars to close out the match, winning the 14th and 15th to make it three wins from three in her group and advance to the last 16 on Saturday.
"It was probably the best I've played the last few days today," said the Ballyconnell star. "I drove the ball really solid and executed well on my targets.
"Kept it pretty steady. Didn't really make a whole lot of mistakes out there. Yeah, pretty solid day.
"She made a really nice birdie on the first, so, not a whole lot I could do about that. Yeah, got it back on the third, which was nice.
"And then birdied four. Had like a horseshoe chip-in, lip-out on four for eagle, which would've been nice.
"But birdied four and five, and I think I was even par from there on. Just steady.
"Had a few chances but didn't need to do anything special, so just played steady. Hopefully, bring that momentum into tomorrow.”
Following wins over Sweden's Linnea Strom (4&2) and Korea’s Jenny Shin (1 up) on the first two days, she was pleased to beat An to progress.
"(I) played here two years ago and didn't get out of my group, so nice to go a bit further this year,” Maguire said.
"This week is a marathon, not a sprint. I'm used to knock-out matches, so the group play is definitely a little different.
"But we had a really good group, a really balanced group, so, yeah, just to get out of the group is good. Go out there and try to do it again tomorrow."
Maguire was the first player to make the last 16, and she planned to take advantage of her early finish to rest for her morning match and the possibility of an afternoon quarter-final rather than worrying about having to win four matches in two days to clinch her second LPGA win.
"I mean, take every match as it comes. We'll take tomorrow morning, start off," she said. "But, yeah, it's hot. It's nice to get a win a little bit early today, I guess, to get a little bit of an extra break; have the afternoon off this afternoon.
"So try and conserve as much energy as possible over the next couple of days. Ultimately you can't be thinking 72 holes at this point. It's 18, and we'll take it from there."
As for who she might face, she said: "I don't think it matters who it is. I've been just trying to play the golf course the last few days, and I think stick to that same plan.
"Try to hit good shots, and we'll see what happens.”