Leona Maguire was understandably delighted after carding a final round 67 on her way to a share of second and her career-best LPGA Tour finish at the LOTTE Championship in Hawaii.
The Cavan professional fired four birdies and an eagle that arrived at her penultimate hole to reach 21-under par, seven shots back from a relentless winning pace set by Lydia Ko. Ko wasn’t for catching this week in Hawaii but in second place, Maguire could hold her head high knowing she fought until the very end as her game continues to trend on a sharp upward curve.
“Yeah, I mean, I got off to a nice start again,” she said. “It was 3-under through 6 and, yeah, just trying to get as many birdies as I can. Gave myself lots of chances today. Got stuck behind the tree on 7. Thought I hit a nice shot to the green and didn’t get the birdie there.
“I kept giving myself a lot of chances 9, 10, 11; just didn’t get those putts to drop. But I just played really solid all day. Hit my irons nice. Played smart. Didn’t hit a great shot into 15 and three-putted that one. Had a really nice up and down on 16.
“Probably hit the best shot of week on 17 to make that eagle which kind of made up for it. Got a little bit lucky on 18. Didn’t hit my best shot into 18 but yeah, really happy with the week. I think it’s my best on the LPGA so far, so my first trip to Hawaii was a very productive one I would say!”
Not just productive but Maguire has moved inside the top-10 on the Race to CME Globe after banking $125,834 for her share of second place. It will be another positive move in the world rankings, another step towards Solheim Cup goals and end of year targets and another reason to believe that her first win on the LPGA Tour is just around the corner.
“I’ve been calling home and calling my coach and saying, it’s close, it’s close. So it really is close now,” Maguire said. “I played really nice this week. Drove the ball really well. Today was probably the best all week today. Irons were solid all week. Putted nicely. Not the best I’ve ever putted, but nicely.
“So everything is trending very nicely in the right direction. I knew Lydia was going to go low today and I was going to have to do something very special to try and catch her. Proud of the way I finished strong.”
Jordanstown professional Stephanie Meadow signed off with a two-under par 70 for a share of 57th at eight-under par.
- Full scoring HERE