Leona Maguire and Lucas Glover sit one shot off the lead after the first round of the inaugural Grant Thornton Invitational, blitzing the Gold Course at Tiburón Golf Club with a 15-under 57 in Naples, Fla., carding one eagle and thirteen birdies on Friday.

Friday saw the 16 two-person teams play a scramble format, and Maguire and Glover recorded 10 straight birdies to kick off the day, parring 11 and 12 before picking up an eagle on the par-4 13th hole to move to 12-under overall. The pair then made back-to-back birdies on 14 and 15 to get to 14-under, grabbing one last birdie on the par-5 17th hole to post a 57.

While there were plenty of highlights to choose from as the duo only parred three holes in total, it was the eagle that really stood out for Maguire and Glover. That hole served as a perfect example of how well they ham and egged it around Tiburón on day one.

“I couldn’t quite get there on the fly, so I had to bounce it in,” said Glover of his tee shot on 13. “I’m not blessed with that speed Ludvig (Aberg) has. Hit a nice shot and it bounced up, went to a pretty good spot, and then about eight feet.”

Glover’s drive on 13 reminded Maguire of the style of golf that she grew up with. “It was a nice shot,” said the two-time LPGA Tour winner. “I told him it was like a linksy shot, little draw in there, banked in, and we were almost getting ready for foursomes at that point.”

Statistically, the duo’s games are fairly complementary of each other. Maguire shines brightest on and around the greens, and she’s pretty accurate off the tee, hitting the fairway 81.01% of the time this past season. Glover finished 2023 ranked first in proximity to the hole and 15th in strokes gained approach as well as fifth in driving accuracy (68.86%) on the PGA Tour.

And when it comes to personality, the two couldn’t be more alike. Maguire and Glover are both relatively unassuming and unemotional on the golf course, just quietly going about their business week in and week out on their respective tours, rarely getting too hot or too cold when things are going well or going poorly. Maguire does have a fiery side that she typically doesn’t show until the Solheim Cup rolls around but is enjoying playing alongside someone like Glover who shares her often calm, cool and collected demeanor.

“Neither of us gets too excited or too down on ourselves, so it’s pretty nice,” said the Irishwoman. “We had a nice stroll out there, and it was fun playing with Madelene (Sagstrom) and Ludvig (Aberg), as well. Ludvig was pretty impressive. Nice to see that up close, and Madelene is obviously a good friend of mine as well. Plenty of chats, plenty of laughing out there, which is always nice.”

A new format will be in play tomorrow as the 16 teams prepare to take on foursomes – also known as alternate shot – a tricky style of golf that requires a lot of strategy and intention from a pair of partners. But after seeing each other play on Friday, Maguire and Glover are feeling confident in their ability to keep this hot start going on day two at Tiburón Golf Club with arguably one of the hardest of the three formats on deck.

“I knew pretty early on, just get (Leona) on the green as close as possible and I wouldn’t have to putt much,” said Glover. “I know what her strengths are, she knows what mine are, and we just stayed out of each other’s way, not that we didn’t talk or anything, but we just let each other do our thing, and it worked.”

For Maguire, this week is about more than taking home a share of the $4 million purse. The 29-year-old is enjoying this opportunity to compete alongside her male counterparts on the PGA Tour and hopes that she and Glover can keep things rolling with two days left at the Grant Thornton Invitational.

“(It’s) almost like being back to a kid a little bit again. I grew up playing with the guys. There were no girls in my golf club except my sister to play with, so it almost felt like we had gone back in time a little bit,” said Maguire. “It’s fun to see these guys do their thing up close. It’s really impressive. I think they see parts of our game that are impressive, too, so I think it’s nice for the fans to get the best of both this week.

“It’s a nice event to finish off the year on. I know there are some interesting pairings this week. We probably weren’t the star-studded pairing, but I think we’ve kind of flown under the radar a little bit today, and hopefully, we can keep the momentum going the next two days.”

By Nadeem Faisal Baiga