The Duke of York Young Champions Trophy

Lisa Maguire leads the way

Lisa Maguire, twin sister of Leona, tacked a level-par 72 to her opening 80 to take a one-shot lead into the third and final round of the Duke of York Young Champions Trophy at Royal Liverpool. Germany’s Antonia Scherer is in the second slot on the leader-board, while Haydn Porteous, the All African Boys’ champion, is two shots off the pace.

It was Ireland’s Jordan Hood who, at the end of a first day when five girls were leading the way, suggested that the boys had been “too busy being boys”. Their longer shots were blown with the 35 mph gusts into the worst of the rough whereas the girls were making a better fist of sticking to the fairways.

The wind was still to the fore this morning when Leona Maguire added an 80 to her opening 85. By the time Lisa set out, however, it was only a factor on the first half. It then ran out of steam to pave the way for the leader’s inward 33 – nine holes in which she conjured up as many as five birdies.

Declan Maguire, a primary school teacher and the father of the twins, had shown his daughters how best to plot their way round the Open championship links on Monday. Meanwhile, in terms of technical thoughts, Lisa worked on keeping her swing nice and slow.

The two birdies which appealed the most were those at the tenth and the eleventh. At the 385 yards 10th, she hit a drive and four-iron to six feet while, at the 178 yards 11th, her four-iron did its stuff again, leaving her with a 12-footer which presented no problems.

Lisa believes that she and Leona benefit hugely from having each other. They keep each other going when they do their daily five-hour practice stints in school holidays and, as you would expect, they are always striving to have matching results. This year alone, Lisa has won the European and Spanish Ladies’ championship and Leona the British Ladies’ Stroke Play and the Portuguese. As for handicaps, Lisa is +5.3 and Leona +4.2.

Scherer suspects that the 75 she added to her opening 78 was partly down to the dying wind and partly to the way she is beginning to get the hang of links golf. At the same time, she enjoyed the best of days on the greens, never missing from under six feet.

Porteous, in tacking a 75 to his opening 79 and doing his bit to restore the boys’ pride, was hitting the ball better from tee to green but had none of Scherer’s touch on the greens. But he was not alone. His playing companion, Spain’s Harang Lee, recoiled with horror at the thought of some of the three-footers which had got away in her second-round 77. “The putts were horrible,” she said.

The Welsh players, Ryan Thomas and Amy Boulden, were more than a little touched when the parents of Rhys Pugh, the Welsh player who was such a hero as GB&I won the Walker Cup by 14 points to 12 in Aberdeen, came to follow play. “It was great to see them,” said Thomas, who struggled with his clubbing in a second-round 86.

This Welsh Boys’ Stroke-Play champion plays at the same club as Pugh and has practised alongside him all his golfing days. “What I’d like,” he said, “is to follow in Rhys’s footsteps by making the next Walker Cup side.

Boulden, who is lying 7th equal after a second 78, was heading to be among the leaders when she made a series of great putts on her first half. In the end, she wasted the best of the weather by finding three bunkers for a double-bogey, bogey finish.

The Welsh player was twice on her knees, though that had less to do with praying for a good shot than being unable to find any kind of a stance.

Day One Report

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