Saturday 16 December 2017

Leona Maguire storms to British Strokeplay crown

Chris Smart

Leona Maguire stormed to the Ladies British Open Amateur Strokeplay Championship in sensational fashion at sunny Royal Ashdown Forest yesterday.

Two strokes off the pace at the halfway stage overnight, the 16-year-old demolished the field with two breathtaking rounds of 69 to win by an amazing six strokes.

Up until yesterday, no one had broken par on this ferocious parkland course, but Maguire did it twice on the final day to pulverise the opposition.

This is not the first time this diminutive plus-five handicapper has taken a field apart -- she cantered to a 15-stroke success in the Portugese Open Championship in Lisbon in January.

Her third-round 69 with halves of 34 and 35 was brilliantly compiled, the highlight being an eagle three on the 477-yard fifth hole.

That put Maguire a commanding five strokes clear with one round remaining.

And she repeated the feat in the afternoon with halves of 34 and 35.

Maguire started and finished with birdie threes -- and in neither round did she card a six.

In the end, the Cavan teenager posted a 72-hole aggregate of level-par 288, winning by six strokes from Belgium's Laurence Herman who also carded a closing 69.

"Today I played well and everything seemed to go right,"said Maguire.

Her twin sister, Lisa, failed to survive the halfway cut however, less than a month after winning the European title.

Wellington's Meghan MacLaren was third on 296.

Teenage Welsh international Amy Boulden, runner-up last year, was fourth, a further stroke back.

Charlene Reid, of Royal Portrush, moved up the leaderboard with a third-round 72, but a disappointing 81 yesterday afternoon dropped her down again and she finished on 308 in joint 21st place.

Sarah Cunningham, of Ennis, had two 78s yesterday to end on 313 in joint 32nd place.

Irish Independent

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