Leona Maguire continued her impressive showing on the LPGA Tour and got her second season off to a great start at the Gainbridge LPGA event at Lake Nona with a T-16th finish.
Maguire, who carded rounds of 69, 72, 69 and 72 to finish on 6-under par was understandably delighted with her showing.
“Yeah, I played some really good golf all week and I can see some of the work I did in the off season paying off already, that definitely helped me get off to a really good start. It was also nice to pick-up where I left off at the end of last season.
“I was especially happy with my irons. We changed the shafts a few weeks ago and that was the best I’ve hit my irons in about a year – so I was very happy. The greens here are pretty tricky so you have to hit the ball in the right spot, particularly when the wind gets swirly around the lake,” she said.
With qualification for the Majors and the small matter of an Olympics later in the year it’s important for Maguire to get off to a fast start in terms of rankings and she’s very aware of the significance of this early season form.
“Yes a fast start is important as there are a few limited field events coming up like in Singapore and Thailand that I won’t be in so it’s important for me to get as many points on the board now as I can. It’s nice that I’ve qualified for the ANA off the back of a top-20 there last year but yes better rankings now helps with planning schedules for sure.”
Of course one of the main talking points at Gainbridge all week was Annika Sorenstam who was returning to action for a once-off event after 13 years on the sidelines. Having been hugely impressive in making the cut the weekend rounds took a heavy toll on the Swede and the best she could muster were rounds of 79 and 76.
“I was fortunate enough to play a few times with Annika in the last few weeks,” said Maguire. “That class never really goes away.
“You can tell that the game is still there even though she wouldn’t have been practicing as much as before. It was very impressive to see her compete this week after a 13 year break and then to make the cut. It was nice to see that a lot of people came out to support her too and cheer her on and it added a nice buzz to the event. She really enjoyed competing against us and she definitely wanted to beat as many of us as she could.”
The event was won by Nelly Korda who made it back-to-back wins for the Korda sisters on the LPGA Tour after she followed up her sister Jessica’s win at the Diamond Resort Tournament.
For Korda it was her fourth win on the Tour and she returned a bogey-free round of 69 to close out a three-shot victory over joint second placed Lexi Thompson and Lydia Ko but she didn’t have it easy and called it a ‘stressful day’.
“It was just the stress, honestly. I was so uptight and stressed today. It may not have looked that way, but if you just heard my conversations with my caddie today you would’ve known how stressed I was because I was not hitting it well. I didn’t feel very good,” said Korda. “I just grinded through it. Today was honestly a grind,” she added.
Listen to a recap of the event and interview with Leona on this week’s Podcast
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