Maguire back in ‘Quinn Country’ and plotting major championship glory

Ronan MacNamara
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Leona Maguire (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)

Leona Maguire admits she will do all she can to try and win a maiden major championship title in 2023 and has already been seeking the help of Pádraig Harrington in preparation for a jaunt at one of the five big events.

Maguire boasts an impressive major championship record, making her last nine cuts, with five top-15 finishes in her last eight major starts including three inside the top-8 and she has emerged as a player who rises to the big occasion, the tougher the golf course the better for the Cavan native.

“I’d like to win a major but it’s one of those things whatever happens, happens. I’ll put in the work, I’ll try to put myself into as good a position as I can and if it happens next year so be it and if it takes a bit longer that’s fine too,” said the world number eleven.

“You need a lot of luck to win on the LPGA Tour, it’s been as strong as it ever has and the majors are no different. It’s very hard to win a major but I’ll give it my best shot.

“That’s always been the case, when I have to think, that tends to suit me a bit more I can plot my way around, not being the longest and all that. Try to play to my strengths.”

Winning a major championship takes more than just turning up and swinging. It’s about preparation, scheduling and peaking at the right times.

The 2022 major championship campaign was a slow burner for the 28-year-old who finished 39th at the Chevron, 54th at the Women’s PGA and 65th at Evian.

But she did impress with 8th and 4th place finishes at the US Open and AIG Women’s Open and she recently sought the advice of three-time major champion Pádraig Harrington as she looks to prepare and perform well in all five next year.

“We got the planning slightly wrong for KPMG and Chevron, learned from it. Planned the US Open and British Open a lot better – didn’t go to Scotland. It was tempting to go to the Scottish, skipped Japan to get ready for CME. 

“We did a lot of things right in preparation for the big events so try and do it again next year. 

“I just picked Pádraig’s brains, he didn’t need much prodding. He gave me some insiders on how to prepare for events and practice for things so yeah, he has incredible insight so it’s great to be able to lean on him. 

“It’s nice to have the lads like him and Paul as a helping hand”

Portmarnock Golf Club has been mooted as a potential AIG Women’s Open venue in the future having recently voted to allow female members.

The men’s Open returned to Irish shores in 2019 for the first time since 1951 where Shane Lowry was crowned a fitting winner and Maguire would love to taste the same success on home soil.

“It would be fantastic. Portmarnock is a great venue, I went there before Muirfield to get ready I know the men are coming back to Portrush that would also be fantastic if we could do that, I played a British Am there. 

“We have fantastic links courses in Ireland, it would be class to get an experience like Shane got in 2019 but there are some pretty impressive venues lined up. We have St Andrews and we had Muirfield so we have been pretty spoiled when it comes to our major venues with the lineup on the US Open and PGA. It’s all on the up with our major venues.”

Maguire is back home in Ballyconnell for the Christmas period where she will rest and recuperate while also hitting the gym and Blackbush Golf Club to see lifelong coach Shane O’Grady.

The recent Sean Quinn documentary ‘Quinn Country’ has been the talk of the nation in recent weeks but Maguire voiced her appreciation for the Fermanagh native – who is from Derrylin, ten minutes from Ballyconnell – and admits he played a huge role in the beginning of her golfing journey.

“I wouldn’t be playing golf if it wasn’t for Sean Quinn,” said Maguire who grew up playing golf in Slieve Russell which was previously owned by Quinn.

“I know the documentary people have their opinions but where I’m from he had the foresight to build the Slieve Russell. There’s an eighteen hole golf course, a par three golf course and that’s where Lisa and I spent countless hours on the par-3. 

“We couldn’t join until we were 12, he was pretty firm on that, that probably added some extra motivation as well but yeah if it wasn’t for the Slieve Russell and the vision of Sean Quinn both myself and Lisa wouldn’t be playing golf.”

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