A sparkling six-under par of 65, marked by five birdies in six holes, has seen Leona Maguire shoot up into medal contention on day two of the Olympic women’s golf in Rio, and Stephanie Meadow is enjoying an excellent day too, writes Will Downing.
Maguire, currently the number-one ranked amateur in the world, had an almost unblemished card, with seven birdies and one late bogey at 15, just as she suffered yesterday at the same hole.
Having started the day three-over par following yesterday’s opening round 74 at the Barra course - and with a birdie at the first to help her confidence - the 21-year-old from Cavan stormed around the turn, with birdies at nine, 10, 11, 13 and 14.
She parred the 12th.
Her hiccup at 15 was wiped out with one last successful birdie effort at 18 to send her back in with a final-nine score of four-under-par 32.
For most of the day, nobody had bettered that – Yang Hee Young of Chinese Taipei matched it with another 65 – but Stacy Lewis would change that, with a spectacular eight-under-par 63 to take the lead on nine-under.
It gave the 31-year-old American from Toledo, Ohio a one-stroke advantage over Britain’s Charley Hull and South Korea’s Park Inbee heading towards the end of the second day’s play.
As for Meadow, her 77 yesterday meant she would not be thinking of bothering the medal positions just yet, but it has still been a very encouraging day.
Meadow’s five-under-par round of 66 leaves her in a tie for 18th and lying one-over-par.
The 24-year-old from Jordanstown, formerly of the University of Alabama and who finished third at the US Women’s open two years ago, started well with birdies at 1, 4 and 5.
A bogey at the 11th halted her progress slightly, but looked to put in a strong finish with birdies at 15 16 and 17 leaving her eleven shots off the lead.
There is no cut, with all players competing across the full four days.