FORT MYERS, Fla. – Leona Maguire and Marina Alex shared the lead Friday in the LPGA Drive On Championship after another windy round at Crown Colony.
Maguire birdied the par-5 18th for a 7-under 65, and Alex closed with birdies on the par-4 eighth and par-5 ninth for a 66. They were at 13-under 131 with a round left.
Maguire had six birdies in a 10-hole stretch in the middle of her bogey-free round.
“Just been playing really solid, taking advantage of the shorter holes,” Maguire said. “My wedges have been really dialed in. Just staying really patient. I think that’s been the theme of the last two weeks in general with the wind we’ve been getting. Taking your chance where you get them, taking the pars on the tougher holes playing into the wind. ”
The 27-year-old Irish player is winless on the LPGA Tour,
“Lydia (Ko) said last week, `If you knock on the door enough times eventually it’ll open,’” Maguire said. “I’m adopting that same mentality, putting myself in these positions. Put a lot of work in over the offseason too, and it’s nice that it’s paying off this early in the season. If it does, great. If not, no big deal. We still got a long year ahead of us.”
Alex, tied for the first-round lead with Nasa Hataoka after a 65, had seven birdies and a bogey. The 31-year-old American won the 2018 Portland Classic for her lone LPGA Tour title.
“It’s been kind of just flowing, so that’s great,” Alex said. “A little tired. It’s like a long day. Just up all day and just the rounds are a little bit on the longer side because long walks between, so I’m a little worn out right now. I was kind of losing a little steam, but happy to finish birdie-birdie.”
Stacy Lewis (67), Brittany Altomare (67) and Linnea Johansson (69) were 9 under. Lexi Thompson (67) was another stroke back with Jeongeun Lee6 (69) and Patty Tavatanakit (70).
“Got tough there on the back nine with the wind kind of playing, I think, some of the hardest holes on the golf course with the most amount of wind we had today,” Lewis said. “But just really, really happy with the way I played.”
Thompson had four straight birdies in the middle of the round.
“It was overall a very solid day,” Thompson said. “Hit it well. Made some good putts, especially the beginning of the back nine. Hung in strong, so hopefully take that into tomorrow.”
Hataoka had a 75 to drop nine strokes back.