Leona Maguire could hold her head up high after giving her all in a final round six-under par 66 that came up two shots shy of Nelly Korda’s 25-under par winning tally at the Meijer LPGA Classic.
Cavan professional Maguire went into the final round three shots behind the world number 4 but wasn’t about to be intimidated by Korda, instead picking up three shots in her first four holes to draw level with the American.
Both players reached 21-under to the turn to set up a seismic battle on the homeward half but it was Korda who ramped up the pressure, picking up shots at 10 and 11 to Maguire’s pars, a two shot cushion that try as she might, Maguire couldn’t penetrate.
The 26-year old gave herself an eagle putt on 18 to perhaps briefly draw level as she fought to the death, but Maguire’s effort missed with Korda nailing a birdie at the last to sign off in 67; outscored by Maguire’s 66 on Sunday but ultimately two shots better off and with another title in her grasp.
“Nelly’s one of the best players in the world and I went toe-to-toe with her pretty much all of today,” Maguire reflected. “I knew it was going to be a battle. I knew I had a lot of golf in front of me – you can’t give a world number 4 a three shot head-start but yeah, this week is going to be huge heading into a Major. I knew I was playing some great golf and this is going to be a huge confidence booster for the rest of the season.”
Part of that confidence will be the security of a career-best cheque – $214,010 – for Maguire’s second place finish that will elevate her to a career high world ranking as her name looms large for a place on this year’s Solheim Cup team. Whatever about the consequences of her performance, however, the fact that she could find a six-under 66 against world class opposition on the Sunday of an LPGA Tour event is proof enough that the Cavan pro is on the right track, and then some!
“I’m really proud of how I played all week,” she added. “I played some great golf, pulled off shots when I needed to, held some really nice putts when I needed to.
“Obviously got off to a really nice start which I have been doing but backed it up with three more solids rounds after that. Really really proud with how I fought this week; same in San Francisco last week – just didn’t give myself quite enough in the end but Nelly’s a great player so very proud of my second place finish.”
- Full scoring HERE