Bogey-filled third round sees Leona Maguire’s slim LPGA Rookie of the Year hopes fade

Leona Maguire saw her slim hopes of winning the Louise Suggs LPGA Rookie of the Year award evaporate with a third-round 73 in the BMW Ladies Championship in South Korea.

he Co Cavan star needs to finish in the top six this week to have a mathematical chance of overhauling Patty Tavatanakit — the ANA Inspiration champion and winner of the 2021 Rolex ANNIKA Major Award — in the race to be Rookie of the Year.

Starting the day tied for 44th on two-under, seven shots outside the top six, Maguire birdied the 12th but bogeyed the 18th at LPGA International Busan, then mixed three bogeys with two birdies on her homeward nine to slip to tied 55th on one-under.

South Korea’s Hee Jeong Lim shot a bogey-free, seven-under 65 to lead the tournament by four strokes from compatriots Jin Young Ko (67) and Na Rin An (69) on 18-under par.

Ko could overtake Nelly Korda as World No 1 with a win, but she insisted she could not look that far ahead.

“I think I have to stay in the present, not try to worry too much about the future,” said the world No 2, who now has posted 20 rounds in the 60s through her last 24 after following Friday’s bogey-free 64 with a bogey-free 67.

“And I think that if I can do that and if I have a little bit of luck, I can perhaps go even lower than 64.”

At Stage II of the LPGA Qualifying Tournament, Olivia Mehaffey moved up just 11 places to tied 161st on 10-over after carding a two-over 74 in the second round on the Bobcat Course at Plantation Golf & Country Club in Florida.

She’s 10 strokes outside the top 45 and ties who will qualify for next month’s Q-Series after four rounds.

There was little luck for the Irish at the Korn Ferry Tour Qualifying School, where Tom McKibbin, Conor Purcell and Paul McBride bowed out at the Second Stage.

Holywood star McKibbin closed with a one-under 71 at the Robert Trent Jones Trail at Highland Oak in Alabama to finish on two-under, five shots outside the top 20 and ties who qualified for next month’s Final Stage.

Portmarnock ace Purcell shot 72 to finish eight shots outside the qualifying mark on one-over at the same venue.

The Island’s McBride was in action at Plantation Preserve in Florida, but a closing 75 saw him finish on 13-over par, 22 shots outside the minimum nine-under qualifying score for the top 20 and ties.

Meanwhile, Masters champion Hideki Matsuyama will take a one-stroke lead into the final round of the PGA Tour’s $9.95m Zozo Championship in Japan.

The Japanese player shot a two-under 68 to lead by the slimmest of margins on 10-under par from American Cameron Tringale, who also shot 68 at Accordia Golf Narashino Country Club in Chiba.

Colombia’s Sebastian Munoz (68), American Brendan Steele (70) and England’s Matt Wallace (70) are tied for third, four shots behind Matsuyama on six-under.

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