Saturday 10 December 2016

Maguire closing in on LPGA Tour card

Published 25/10/2016 | 02:30

Prepared: Leona Maguire
Prepared: Leona Maguire

World No 1 amateur Leona Maguire took a giant step closer to a place on the LPGA Tour by qualifying for the final Tour school next month.

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The 21-year-old was one of 11 amateurs inside the cut line of the top 80 and ties who made it through from the LPGA and Symetra Tour qualifying school stage two at Venice, Florida.

The event was 72 holes, with no cut, and Maguire finished tied-sixth on three-under par with rounds of 72, 67, 74, 72 .

Norway's Marianne Skarpnord led the field on 11 under, and England's Bronte Law, another amateur and Curtis Cup team-mate of Maguire's, came second on six under.

In total, 84 players from 29 countries go forward to the final qualifying at Daytona Beach, from November 30-December 4.

Five rounds will be played, with only the top 70 and ties after 72 holes going through to play the fifth round at the Hills Course.

At the end of that gruelling weeding-out process, 20 cards will be available for the LPGA's 2017 season.

Yesterday, Maguire was back in college at Duke University in Durham, North Carolina, to catch up on her course work for her psychology and business degree, while her father Declan and coach Shane O'Grady travelled back to Ireland. Declan caddied for his daughter and O'Grady ensured her swing was in the groove.

As of now, the plan is to repeat that formula for the final qualifying event, but before that Maguire will play for Duke in the prestigious East Lake Cup in Atlanta from October 31-November 2.

That is effectively the end of the college golf programme pre-Christmas, but Maguire has to balance preparations for Daytona Beach with ensuring she keeps up with her study schedule.

Her mother Breda said that Leona was pleased with her performance in Venice, and is looking ahead with confidence to the challenge of the stage three event.

Irish Independent

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