Maguire puts pro career on hold for 18 months
Leona Maguire, the world's number one female amateur, is opting out of the final stage of LPGA Qualifying School next week to remain in the unpaid ranks for the next 18 months.
Maguire, 22 next Wednesday, will concentrate on her golf and studies at Duke University in Durham, North Carolina until she graduates in 2018
She will then turn all her attention to gaining her playing rights on the LPGA Tour.
The Cavan golfer, who represented Ireland in the Olympics last summer, and played the women's professional British and US Opens, recently came through stage three of the LPGA Q-School, but has decided not to take up her place in Daytona Beach next week.
Maguire announced her decision yesterday and said: "Upon considerable deliberation, I have decided to withdraw from stage III of LPGA Q-school and not pursue LPGA membership for 2017.
"This is not a decision that I have taken lightly, but one that I feel is best for me in the pursuit of my long-term aspirations. I am thankful for the continuous support of my parents, friends, team-mates, coach Shane O'Grady, ILGU and everyone at Duke for their guidance in helping me to reach my decision.
"I have greatly developed as both a player and person since starting at Duke and am confident that another year and a half of playing collegiate golf will further aid me in all aspects of my preparation in becoming a professional golfer. My dream is and always has been to compete alongside the world's best on the LPGA and this remains resolutely unchanged.
"It is my intention to turn professional after graduation in May 2018, and I look forward to enjoying many more unforgettable experiences representing Duke, Ireland and myself as an amateur golfer until then," she explained.
Maguire enjoyed a successful campaign this year. She tied for 21st at the Olympics in Rio with rounds of 74, 65, 74 and 69 for a two-under-par 282, which was tied for the low amateur.
She also finished as the low amateur at the RICOH Women's British Open in England and tied 25th overall.
Maguire advanced to the quarter-finals of match play at the Ladies' British Open Amateur Championship and also led the Great Britain & Ireland squad to an 11.5 to 8.5 victory over the United States in the Curtis Cup at Dún Laoghaire. In her two-and-a-half years at Duke, Maguire has collected an impressive resumé.
The 2014-15 National Player of the Year, she is a two-time First Team WGCA All-America, 2015 ACC Player of the Year, two-time All-ACC and was awarded the Mark H. McCormack Medal as the leading women's golfer in the 2015 and 2016 World Amateur Golf Ranking.