Fresh off her second career LPGA victory last week at the Meijer LPGA Classic, Leona Maguire arrived at Baltusrol riding a wave of momentum in search of her first major championship victory. After 36 holes at the KPMG Women's PGA Championship, it's starting to look like a real possibility.
Toughing it out through difficult conditions on Baltusrol's Lower Course, Maguire has vaulted to the top of the leaderboard at -5 overall, holding a one-shot lead over a trio at -4.
"It's a very different mentality, different midnset," Leona said of the transition from last week to this week. "I feel like my game has sort of taken over from last week. I'm very comfortable with how I'm hitting it, picking my targets and committing to them."
Wet conditions over the first two rounds have proven to be difficult to overcome for a majority of the field, but Leona has remained steady. A little rain hasn't yet rattled the two-time LPGA winner. If anything, it may even remind her a bit of being back home in Ireland.
"I suppose if this weather was at home, no one would even comment on it," Leona said. "I think the big thing today was staying really patient. I did a good job of staying concentrated and staying warm when I needed to. It kind of kept the monemtum going."
If tournament history is any indication, this could be an exciting weekend for Leona. Each of the last seven KPMG Women's PGA Championship winners have held the 36-hole lead or co-lead. While that may bode well for the Irish star, she's not about to start looking too far ahead.
"This is unchartered territory for me," Leona said. "Whatever happens this week, I'm sure I'll learn a lot. Just taking it one day at a time, and I think this golf course demands that. You can't think more than one shot ahead, let alone a hole or a round ahead. Just really taking it shot by shot and trying to hit as many good shots as I can."
With 36 holes left to play, the opportunity is there for the taking.