Maguire expecting tough slog against deep ANA field

Leona Maguire (Photo by David Cannon/Getty Images)

Leona Maguire is prepared for a proper Major test when the ANA Inspiration gets underway later today at a steaming hot Mission Hills Country Club.

The Cavan professional joins Jordanstown’s Stephanie Meadow and Royal County Down and Tandragee amateur, Olivia Mehaffey at the second Major on the women’s calendar this year having missed the cut at the AIG Women’s Open.

Maguire has been trying to recapture the form that saw her race to a top-5 finish in just her second LPGA Tour event of the season in Australia earlier this year but admits that it will be no easy task given the quality of field lining out at Rancho Mirage.


“Yeah, the ANA is typically a long hitter’s golf course, you need to hit a big drive here,” she said to the Examiner’s Simon Lewis.

“Lexi Thompson, Nelly Korda, Danielle Kang, the world number two – they’d probably be early favourites I would say. Brooke Henderson, though she hasn’t been playing that well lately, Inbee Park, you can never rule her out in a major.

“The LPGA, there is a lot of depth there, you could pick 20 people who have a chance this week, you could pick 50 people so it’s just a case of who’s on form this week.”

Whoever’s going to come through and take the spoils will have to adapt to red-hot temperatures in the mid -thirties in California, so hot that caddies have been permitted to use push carts this week. Whatever about players and caddies keeping hydrated though, the drying conditions could make for a parched golf course too, something Maguire expects to play a real factor in deciding the winner.

“You need to be long but you need to be straight and there’s some tricky greens around here, they’re going to be slick. And a lot will depend on how the LPGA decides to set up the course,” she added.

“It’s looking quite green right now but if we keep getting these temperatures and they don’t water it could dry out really fast and it could become what it was like for the guys at the BMW Championship where you get very bouncy, very crusty greens which would make it a very different test.”

If she had to choose a favourite: “I suppose the favourite on paper is probably Danielle Kang, the world number two. She’s won twice since the restart so it’s probably Danielle.”

Thursday’s Irish tee times (Irish time)

Olivia Mehaffey 15.24

Leona Maguire 16.36

Stephanie Meadow 20.24

Full scoring HERE

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