Leona Maguire shoots lights out to set pace in Dubai

Scottish pair Carly Booth and Kylie Henry both made bright starts, but it was Northern Ireland’s Leona Maguire who ended up shooting the lights out in the world’s first-ever professional day-night golf tournament.

Cheyenne Woods tees off at the Omega Dubai Moonlight Classic in Dubai. Picture: Tom Dulat/Getty Images
Cheyenne Woods tees off at the Omega Dubai Moonlight Classic in Dubai. Picture: Tom Dulat/Getty Images

Playing part of her round under the floodlights on the Faldo Course, former amateur world No 1 Maguire carded a course record eight-under-par 64 to set the pace in the Omega Dubai Moonlight Classic.

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“I guess I just need to play at 3 o’clock and then in darkness: that’s the way to go for me,” said Maguire, a 24-year-old from Cavan, after holing a 25-foot birdie putt at the last against the glittering Dubai Marina skyline to lead by two shots from Germany’s Olivia Cowan.

Maguire, who recently recorded her first professional win in the Windsor Classic in California on the Symetra Tour in the US, played half her round under the lights and added: “I adjusted quite quickly, actually. It was a lot better than I thought. It seems like night golf suits me. I can’t really complain. A course record, eight-under-par and I was lucky that we had a good group as well. We had a lot of fun and I really enjoyed it.”

Booth, also out in the afternoon/evening, made seven birdies as she carded a four-under 68 to sit joint fourth, just ahead of Henry after her 69 in the morning sun. “I’m excited,” said Henry of her turn to play under the lights on day two. “For me especially, I’ll be glad I don’t need to keep re-applying sun cream once it gets dark, so that will be good!”