Leona Maguire and Stephanie Meadow are well off the first round pace at the Olympic golf tournament after shooting opening rounds of 74 and 77, respectively, in Rio de Janeiro yesterday.
Out in the first group, Maguire made history by recording the first birdie in ladies Olympic golf since 1900.
But two bogeys and a costly double bogey seven at the 10th saw her finish on three over. It left her eight behind clubhouse leader South Korea’s Inbee Park, who carded a 66.
Meadow, a late inclusion in the field, opened with two bogeys and couldn’t get back on track as she slumped to a six-over total.
At 28, seven-time major champion Park is the youngest player to qualify for the Hall of Fame, but she has not broken par on the LPGA Tour since April as she battles a ligament injury in her left thumb.
That forced her to miss out on defending her title in the Women’s British Open last month, but there were few signs of any problems in Rio as she carded five birdies in a flawless 66.
“I haven’t played for a while and I haven’t played well for a while so I wanted to go out and play well,” Park said. “I had a lot of pressure. I was quite nervous. Some people thought I should give my chance to another player. I knew I could compete out here, but a lot of people were doubting.”
Catriona Matthew had mixed emotions after battling back from a poor start to boost Britain’s hopes of marking golf’s return to the Olympics with a golden double in Rio.
Matthew did not start well with a double bogey on the third. But the 46-year-old Scot, the oldest player in the 60-strong field, bounced back for a level-par 71, six shots behind leader Carlota Ciganda.
“I’m a little bit disappointed,” said Matthew. “I had a lot of chances the last five or six holes and hit some good putts that didn’t go in, but I suppose overall I am still in it and that’s the main thing.”
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