Double LPGA winning star Leona Maguire will be teeing-up in this week’s KPMG PGA Championship around a three-hour drive south-east from where Padraig Harrington will be defending the first of back-to-back Champions Tour titles.
Maguire, 28, is coming off a stunning second LPGA triumph in Sunday’s concluding Meijer LPGA Classic where she posted a sizzling last day 64 to win by two shots.
Harrington meanwhile will be defending his Dicks Sporting Goods Open, an event he captured last August, and the second of an incredible four wins on last year’s Champions Tour before next week heading to Wisconsin to defend his US Senior Open title, a win that qualified him for last week’s U.S. Open.
The return appearance of the defending champ Harrington in upstate New York and a winning Maguire teeing-up across the Hudson River in New Jersey, is sure to test the golfing persuasion of the golf-loving Irish heritage in the neighbouring U.S. states.
And we’re learning following Maguire’s triumph on Father’s Day just how much Harrington played a part in her victory, while he was fighting as hard as he could on the opposite side of the country in Los Angeles.
You see, Maguire had been asked following her Sunday success if it was Rory McIlroy’s efforts on the PGA Tour that have been inspirational, but it was Harrington who the Cavan golfer proudly singled out.
“Obviously, Rory has been incredibly impressive, everything that he’s done throughout his career”, Maguire said.
“All the Irish guys are great. I think it’s nice being from that sort of close-knit community, Shane (Lowry) and Padraig, Paul McGinley. They’re there to give me advice or give Dermot (Byrne, my caddy) advice whenever we need it, so it’s nice to have that sort of camaraderie to give the people at home more to cheer about”.
The new Rolex Women’s World No. 12 revealed how Harrington had given his time to Maguire just prior to last year’s 150th Open at St. Andrews to the point now a year on that the K Club attached Maguire is the third highest ranked European in the world.
“I potentially have to pay him another trip this summer,” Maguire said.
“It was right before the British Open last year. I’ll have to check in with him again and see if we can do it again.”
And now in arriving at Baltusrol for her 22nd career major and also a fifth straight KPMG PGA, Maguire is kind of walking on golf’s ‘Cloud-9’.
“I feel like my confidence has been a few weeks of getting it all to come together and the goal was to be coming into good form heading into Baltusrol and Pebble, so we’ve peaked a week early, which is nice,” she said.
“Hopefully we can continue that run of form.”