Tuesday 22 October 2019

Leona Maguire: 'You couldn't ask for a better showcase for women's golf'

As she focuses on the Symetra Tour finale and her quest for an LPGA Tour card, Leona Maguire took time out to reflect on Europe's dramatic Solheim Cup win at Gleneagles and how it inspired her

High drama: Europe’s Solheim Cup winning team. Photo: Jane Barlow/PA
High drama: Europe’s Solheim Cup winning team. Photo: Jane Barlow/PA

Leona Maguire

I'm in Alabama this week for the third last event on the Symetra Tour, but I'm still buzzing after catching some of Europe's incredible Solheim Cup victory on Sunday.

You couldn't have asked for a better showcase for women's golf. I hope a lot of people watched it on TV because you are not going to get more entertaining or dramatic finish than that in any sport.

I was flying out of Atlanta airport, and my Mam video called me, so I was able to catch the last few holes of the singles, which were incredibly dramatic.

I'd seen some of the early morning play, and it was great to see my old Duke University teammate Céline Boutier played incredibly well. But what happened at the end, it just shows you that you always have to hold out hope and wait for momentum to go your way.

Bronte Law and Suzann Pettersen turned their matches around, and you couldn't have put more competitive people in those positions. They were the right people in the right place and the right time.

I played in two Curtis Cups with Bronte and partnered her in fourballs both times, so I know exactly what she is like in those positions. She was a rookie on paper, but she wasn't really a rookie. Catriona Matthew had put her in that position for a reason, and I'd say she was absolutely loving it.

Leona Maguire is an Official Ambassador for the 20x20 Women in Sport Campaign. Photo: Stacy Revere/Getty Images
Leona Maguire is an Official Ambassador for the 20x20 Women in Sport Campaign. Photo: Stacy Revere/Getty Images

As for Suzann, if Catriona didn't know she could do it and she didn't know she could do it, she wouldn't have been there as a wildcard. She's holed so many key putts in the Solheim Cup over the years.

I remember watching her at Killeen Castle in 2011 when we were with the Junior Solheim Cup team, and she holed some crucial putts during the week and then beat Michelle Wie in the singles, which was one of the key matches.

She has two majors under her belt, but her Solheim Cup wins are like majors for her too. It's an event that means so much to her, and you couldn't have written a better ending for the Solheim Cup or for her career.

She's like Ian Poulter or Sergio Garcia for the European Ryder Cup team. In fact, her winning putt reminded me of Martin Kaymer's at Medinah, the way it all came together.

She nearly holed her pitch, which was impressive. But her putt was even better. It was so pure, she was celebrating six or seven inches out. It went right in the middle too and didn't touch any edges either.

I'd absolutely love to be in the mix in a Solheim Cup some day because I am sure that's an experience those players will never forget. Anytime you see something like that you are definitely inspired, so I'll be trying and make the next team in Toledo in 2021.

As for me, the game is in pretty good shape and my goal for the last three events is to finish the year as well as I started it.

I am fifth in the money list with the top 10 getting LPGA Tour cards and I have sister Lisa on the bag for the last three events so the goal is to finish as high up that money list as possible.

I'm certainly getting to see parts of the US I'd probably never see if I wasn't playing on tour. We've seen both coasts and after coming home for the ISPS Handa World Invitational, I played in South Dakota and then in Kansas, so we are slowly ticking off all the states.

While I missed the cut at Sioux Falls, I didn't play that badly and in Kansas, I just had a bad front nine on the third day and came in 59th.

The game is in pretty good shape, and it was nice to be back to Duke University last week and get in some great practice on familiar territory. I got to hit a lot of shots, play a few holes with the team and catch up with all the coaches. It was like I never left.

It's been a pretty good year for Irish golf so far and the ISPS Handa World Invitational at Massereene and Galgorm Castle was a great week even though the weather wasn't as good as we'd hoped.

It's an event that has a lot of potential and will go from strength to strength over the next few years, and it was great to see Stephanie Meadow winning and Lauren Walsh doing so well before going off on her college journey at Wake Forest.

Irish golf is in good hands at the minute with three Irish girls in the Curtis Cup squad and Shane Lowry getting honorary life membership of the European Tour this week.

Fingers crossed I can have a few more good results to wrap up my LPGA Tour card and then start looking at the end of the year. Talk soon. Leona

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