‘It could’ve been a lot better, could’ve been a lot worse’ was Leona Maguire’s assessment of her top-10 finish at the LPGA’S Mediheal Championship, though she was determined to learn from the ups and downs of her time in Daly City.
The Cavan professional signed off on another encouraging week with a two-under 70 for a six-under tally and a tied-ninth finish, though she was left wondering what might’ve been having burst into the lead after a stunning 65 on day one.
“I mean, it could have been a lot better; could have been a lot worse. It was one of those days,” said Maguire, who banked $29,513 and moved up to 20th on the Race to CME Globe.
“I got off to a really nice start on Thursday and didn’t feel like I had my best golf all week, even on Thursday. I just holed a lot of putts and just grinded it out through the middle two days. Yesterday I guess I got behind the eight ball, the second and third day. Was fighting my way back but hung in there.”
Some days your luck is in, other times it’s not and Maguire’s start on Saturday was certainly the latter scenario. The 26-year old sent her approach shot at the opening hole high and right where it found a pine tree and didn’t come down. Or at least it didn’t inside the allotted three minutes search time. It eventually fell to the ground but that was no good to Maguire who took a one-shot penalty on the chin and was also forced to go back and replay the shot, carding a double-bogey six on her way to a moving day 74. Regrets?
“I mean, we were looking up, trying to see if we could identify something and then a ball dropped, and I honestly thought it was from the range because it was quite a thud when it landed,” Maguire said.
“And then there was the hole kerfuffle like can we play it, can we not, whatever. In hindsight I probably wish I would’ve called for a second referee. It’s one of those rookie mistakes. Yeah, live and learn. Felt like I hung in there and came back. Didn’t let it affect me too much.”
Her playing partner, Lauren Kim sounded even more disappointed than Maguire about the incident.
“Her ball was stuck up in the tree and then it fell down and it was her ball that fell down, and then we were trying to figure out what the timing was, whether it was a lost ball and all that,” Kim said. “I just felt just awful. Like Danielle and I were talking about it, and at the end of the day, we felt like it probably was more than three minutes.
“But, you know, in those kind of situations, it’s just kind of — you just kind of have to say the hard thing to say and kind of move on. But I felt so bad. I was so excited for her because as I was setting up to my putt it fell out of the tree. I was like, that’s great, we found the ball, let’s move on. And then it turns out it was the timing issue. So, yeah, that was a challenge.”
Still, that incident aside and it’s another week of stellar progress for Maguire who marches on to the Meijer LPGA Classic this week full of optimism, especially after a successful first outing with new caddie, Dermot Byrne.
“I keep putting myself in those positions,” was Maguire’s response to what her ambitions look like moving forward. “I had a new caddie on the bag this week, so this week was kind of trying to figure that out a little bit as well. I think we were fortunate that we clicked pretty early on, which was good.
“There was a lot of thinking this week with the wind, with the fog coming in, just different things. There will be a lot of that at the major I would guess, too. So yeah, just trying to learn all I can from these past sort of two, three days. Work that into hopefully when I’m in that position again.”