Sport Golf

Friday 23 August 2019

Maguire eyes turn to Euro prizes after US breakthrough

Leona Maguire is targeting a big move up the world rankings as she turns her attention to the Ladies European Tour. Photo: Tristan Jones
Leona Maguire is targeting a big move up the world rankings as she turns her attention to the Ladies European Tour. Photo: Tristan Jones

Brian Keogh

Patience paid off for Leona Maguire as she took a giant step towards her LPGA Tour dream by snatching her maiden professional win in a play-off in California.

Now the Cavan star (24) is targeting more success and a big move up the world rankings as she briefly turns her attention to the Ladies European Tour.

She leapt 61 places to 232nd in the world when she closed with a brilliant seven-under 65 in the Windsor Golf Classic near San Francisco, then birdied the first play-off hole to beat Thailand's Pajaree Anannarukarn and claim the $22,500 (€20,000) top prize.

The win catapulted her to the top of the Symetra Tour money list with the top-10 money winners earning promotion to the LPGA Tour at the end of the season.

And she admitted that after finishing fifth and fourth in her last two starts, she had to remind herself to keep her foot on the gas.

"I was talking to Dad on the phone during the week and he kept saying to just try and finish better and better every week and keep going, so that's what I did," said Maguire, who led going in to the final round of the IOA Championship the previous Sunday, but shot 77 to finish fourth.

"Any time you are in the lead or near the lead, you know you are doing some things right. So I just kept trying to give myself chances.

"You've to lose one maybe before you win one and I learned quite a bit from last week and made sure I kept the foot down this week.

"It was patience more than anything else that did it, a bit like my first year in college, which was similar."

Maguire turned professional last June and won a Ladies European Tour (LET) card before Christmas,.

"I've been a bit more patient this year," she said after coming from two shots off the lead to win.

"I think I was too eager to try and rush things last year, trying to play catch-up too much, I didn't give myself enough rest.

"This year has been nice, working my way in to the season with some really good finishes and trying to get better every week. I knew I would get there eventually."

Her win was the perfect end to a 10-week road trip that took her from Cavan to Australia and the USA via Dubai.

She returns home this week for a two-week break before heading to LET events in Morocco and Dubai that could catapult her into Solheim Cup contention if she can win again.

"It's a nice boost to get," added Maguire.

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