Maguire riding high ahead of Mizuho Americas Open

John Craven

Leona Maguire (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)

Leona Maguire is ready to take her final four form of last week’s LPGA Match Play into today’s starting Mizuho Americas Open at Liberty National.

The Cavan star is aiming to go a couple of places better after coming unstuck in her sixth match of a gruelling few days at Shadow Creek against beaten finalist Ayaka Furue.

The result was Maguire’s third top-10 finish of a steady season and while she would’ve dearly loved to knock off a second LPGA Tour victory, Maguire saw enough in her game to keep content despite suffering a Vegas near-miss.


“I obviously would have liked to have won the whole thing but if you’d offered me a semi-final at the start of the week I would have taken it,” Maguire said at the launch of the KPMG ‘Books for Birdies’ campaign; an initiative that begins this week in Jersey City with one book donated for every birdie Maguire makes to local schools around Dromoland, up to and including the KPMG Women’s Irish Open.

While victory eluded her, Maguire produced a much-improved driving performance borne out of countless hours on the range that has filled her with confidence ahead of an action-packed stretch of events.

“My driving is something we’ve put particular attention on in the last few weeks and months, getting the accuracy of that up,” Maguire says.

“I drove the ball really well last week so it’s a big confidence boost. I’d six really strong rounds under my belt on a really tough golf course. I was able to execute shots when I needed to which was very satisfying.

“This week is a very different test in Liberty National so hopefully we can build on the momentum from last week and bring it into this week.”

Liberty National is another new venue for Maguire to get to grips with and while her focus will be on capturing that second career LPGA Tour title, the proximity to Baltusrol, the venue for this month’s KPMG Women’s PGA Championship means Maguire, alongside caddie Dermot Byrne, will be conducting a scouting mission next Monday after a hopeful four rounds at the Mizuho.

“By all accounts, it’s a big, beasty golf course which is usually the case with the PGA events, so we’ll have to bring the A-Game there, no doubt, in a few weeks,” Maguire said of Baltusrol, highlighting Byrne’s valuable experience with the former looper of Shane Lowry guiding his then charge around the course at the men’s PGA in 2016.

Indeed, while regular tour events remain her bread and butter, Maguire constantly has one eye on those Major dates in the diary and has already sought counsel ahead of another classic venue upcoming on the calendar, next month’s U.S. Open at Pebble Beach.

“Dermot obviously worked with Shane for a long time and I’ve picked Paddy’s [Harrington] brains a few times,” said Maguire of the famous Californian gem. “And I’ve chatted to G-Mac [2010 U.S. Open champ at Pebble], we practice at the same club in Orlando so he had a few insights.”

For now, Maguire will look to carry that Match Play momentum from the desert to the bright lights of New York, still longing to add to that maiden victory secured in February last year at the Drive On, though acutely aware of just how difficult it is to win on this most competitive tour.

“You’re trying to win every event you enter but the standard is so high,” she says.

“There’s a lot of things that have to go right for a lot of those pieces to fall into place, so ultimately all you can do is play your best and try as hard as you possible can and see where that leaves you on Sunday evening every week.”


Leona’s first round begins today (Thursday) at 18.10 (Irish).

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