AYRSHIRE, Scotland (June 23, 2016) -- It was slaughter in the sun as seven of the top eight seeds perished on a very warm, almost windless day for the first two match play rounds in the Ladies' British Open Amateur championship at the exposed Dundonald Links.
Leona Maguire (Slieve Russell), the World No. 2 female amateur, started the uprising of the "lesser" qualifiers - she herself qualified last of 64 from the 36-hole stroke-play eliminator, by toppling the No. 1 seed Leslie Cloots from Antwerp, Belgium 3&2 in the morning.
By the end of the day, Maguire, 21, and twin Lisa, also a student at Duke University, as her caddie, had cruised into the last 16, to be joined by Meghan MacLaren (21) from Wellingborough, another Curtis Cup stalwart, world No. 3 Bronte Law (Bramhall and UCLA) who won all five of her matches at Dun Laoghaire and world No. 8 Olivia Mehaffey (Royal Co Down Ladies) a winner of 3.5 points from the USA, were stopped in their tracks.
Law, winner of the English title for the past two years, lost by 4&3 count to unheralded Dutch player, Dewi Webber, who was 3 up by the turn, and Mehaffey went down at the 19th to the only US Curtis Cup player to stay on for this championship, World No. 14 Monica Vaughn (Arizona State University) from Oregon.
Vaughn, 2 up on Mehaffey after nine, was pulled back to all square but won the match on the 19th with a four-foot knee-knocker putt for a winning par.
Other top eight seeds now on the sidelines are Sweden's Amanda Linner, Frida Kinhult and Beatrice Wallin and Spain's Ainhoa Olarra.
Leona Maguire admitted at lunchtime that she had played only as well as she had to to beat Leslie Cloots 3&2.
But it was a different story with the warm sun on her back in the afternoon. "I played very well to beat Anais Meyssonnier by 4&3 score with roughly four or five-under figures," said Leona. "I birdied the 3rd and 5th before losing the short sixth to a birdie. Then I birdied the 8th, 9th and 11th to go 4 up and we halved the remaining holes."
In the quarterfinals Maguire will face Spanish wonder girl, 18-year-old Maria Parra, the world No. 4, who won her two Thursday matches by 7&6 and 6&4 tallies. "I am just taking it one match at a time. I have to beat a Swiss girl to reach the last eight so I am focused on that Friday morning match. It doesn't pay you to look too far ahead in a match play tournament."
Parra's third-round opponent is England's is Isobel Wardle from Prestbury, Cheshire who won her matches 1 up and 2&1 respectively.
There is more than one "wonder girl" in the last 16 - Julia Engstrom (Sweden), at 15-years-old and a month or so, is the youngest player in the field and as the four-seed she is the highest surviving seed. She beat Scotland's Germany-based Rachael Taylor 2&1 in the second round.
Meghan MacLaren also knocked out a Scot, Hannah McCook from Grantown on Spey by 3&1 after being 1 up at the turn.
Gemma Clews (Delamere Forest), who had been 3 up after nine, eventually beat New Zealand's Chantelle Cassidy at the 25th hole - the longest match in the history of the Ladies' British Open Amateur Championship.
American Curtis Cup player Monica Vaughn, who knocked out two-seed Olivia Mehaffey on the 19th in the first round, was a 2&1 winner in the second round against France's Shannon Aubert.
Vaughn was 4 up after nine holes and now plays another American, Ohio State student Jessica Porvasnik.