Thursday 17 January 2019

Maguire’s joy at ‘solid week’

Maguire: “I played solid but there is still plenty more in the tank which is pretty encouraging.” Photo by Michael Cohen/Getty Images
Maguire: “I played solid but there is still plenty more in the tank which is pretty encouraging.” Photo by Michael Cohen/Getty Images

Brian Keogh

Leona Maguire believes there's "a lot more in the tank" after she tied for 15th on her professional debut in the ShopRite LPGA Classic in Atlantic City.

The Co Cavan star (23) went into the final round tied for 13th, six shots off the lead. But while her two-under 69 left her eight shots behind winner Annie Park on eight-under, she was encouraged to leave the likes of Lydia Ko, Jessica Korda and Paua Creamer in her wake on a blustery final day, pocketing $25,597 despite not playing her very best.

"I could have holed a few putts but I think, all in all, it was a pretty solid week," said Leona, whose twin sister Lisa gained invaluable experience despite missing the cut after rounds of 84 and 82.

"I think I'd have taken it at the start of the week. There's a lot of big names behind me on the leaderboard too, so for my first go, I will more than take it."

She made five birdies and three bogeys in her 69 on a day when Japan's Sakura Yokimine set the clubhouse target at 15-under with a 10-under 61 but was pipped by a shot by former college rival Park, who closed with an eight-under 63 to claim her maiden win.

"You definitely have to go low. It's another step up but I wasn't too far off this week and I didn't feel like I played my best golf," added Leona. "I played solid but there is still plenty more in the tank which is pretty encouraging."

The twins will tee it up in the Symetra Tour's Forsyth Classic in Illinois this week.

In the Curtis Cup, there was to be no fairy tale in New York as Great Britain and Ireland surrendered their crown as the USA dominated.

The record-shattering 17-3 victory was the biggest in Curtis Cup history, with the hosts eclipsing their own 11-point win margin as well as setting a new record points total. Royal County Down Ladies star and world amateur No.16 Olivia Mehaffey lost her match against US Amateur champion Sophia Schubert 2&1

At the FedEx St Jude Classic in Memphis, Dustin Johnson returned to the top of the world rankings in spectacular fashion - and made a major statement ahead of this week's US Open - when he holed a nine-iron from 169 yards for an eagle two at the 18th.

The 2016 US Open champion closed with a four-under 66 for a six-shot win over 54-hole co-leader Andrew Putnam, who shot 72, on 19-under par.

Seamus Power closed with a level par 70 to finish tied 12th on six-under par, moving him to 120th in the FedEx Cup standings.

Shane Lowry also gave himself a confidence boost when he birdied three of his last five holes for a level par 70 to tie for 30th on three-under as Pádraig Harrington shot 71 to tie for 56th, five shots further back on two-over.

On the European Tour, Mikko Korhonen sped away from the field to secure his first European Tour title at the Shot Clock Masters in Austria.

The Finn entered the final day with a five-shot advantage and signed for three-under 69 to win by six from Scot Connor Syme, a stablemate of the Maguire's at Modest! Golf, on 16-under-par

Korhonen (37) has made 12 visits to Q-School, so he was thrilled to finally win at the 146th attempt after going bogey-free the first 62 holes of the event.

With every shot on the clock and one-shot penalties imposed for bad times, the format was hailed as a success with round times for the first three days 30 minutes faster than the tour average.

Meanwhile, former Irish Amateur Open champion Pedro Figueiredo (26) lifted the KPMG Trophy and his first European Challenge Tour title after a dramatic three-way play-off in Belgium.

The Portuguese, who closed with a seven-under-par 64 to tie with Sweden's Anton Karlsson and Welshman Stuart Manley on 22-under par, birdied on the first extra hole to win the €28,800 top prize. Ardglass' Cormac Sharvin shot a one-under 70 to finish tied 23rd on 11-under with Tullamore's Stuart Grehan was a shot further back in 32nd after a 70.

In the Connacht Amateur Strokeplay Championship at Portumna, Galway Bay's Eddie McCormack (45) won his first senior title by two strokes from Co Sligo's Sean Flanagan on five-under 283.

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