Maguire’s unexpected practice round with Reed and Schwartzel draw

Ronan MacNamara

Alex Maguire (Photo by Octavio Passos/R&A/R&A via Getty Images)

Alex Maguire headed for the first tee during Monday’s practice day expecting to be a lone ranger on the Royal Liverpool fairways. In the end, he found himself rubbing shoulders with a Masters champion.

It was Maguire and Patrick Reed (and Denny McCarthy) on Monday afternoon and despite Reed’s tarnished reputation the Laytown & Bettystown amateur had nothing but glowing remarks for the 2018 Masters champion.

“I was supposed to be down on my own and then I got to the first tee and Patrick and Denny McCarthy were there so yeah it was great to play with a Masters champion and Denny is known as one of the best putters in the world so to play with them for two hours was great,” said Maguire who was rocking a fresh skin fade from a barber on site at Royal Liverpool Golf Club.


“He was a great guy, he couldn’t have been nicer to me, he complimented how far I hit it on the first tee so yeah, whatever people write about him in the media and what other opinions people have about him, to me he was a great guy and that’s all I can go off.

“We were chatting away and I was asking him about the course from when he played here in 2014 and he couldn’t remember it so I tried to get a bit off him, he said it’s a lot softer now than it was back then, but when you play a practice round you don’t want to ask them too much, just let them do what they do and watch over and see what they do. That’s where I get most of my advice by observing and watching them.”

It’s been like a week at the Oscars for Maguire who has his locker in between Shane Lowry and Rory McIlroy in the Champions Locker Room while he has also encountered Jon Rahm. The tee times for rounds one and two were released on Tuesday afternoon with the 22-year-old set to make his major championship debut alongside 2011 Masters champion Charl Schwartzel and Rikuya Hoshino of Japan.

“It’s nice to be out with Charl, a Masters champion, he stole the Masters off Rory that year so to be playing with a major champion is fantastic so I’m really looking forward to getting out there on Thursday morning, it will be an early start but I would rather play morning, afternoon. As early as it will be, I couldn’t be any happier It’s not nerves yet until Thursday morning.,” explained Maguire who is pencilled in for a practice clip with Lowry and Pádraig Harrington on Wednesday morning.

Maguire’s amateur record on links courses is phenomenal with wins at Portrush, Baltray (twice) and St Andrews. A supreme driver of the golf ball, he knows he will have to dial back a little bit and play more strategically. An element of his game he has worked hard on this year and one which paid dividends at the Old Course as he romped to the St Andrews Links title.

“You can’t really hit driver a lot because it brings in trouble. I will have to be patient off the tee, I have a new 2iron which is great it goes 270 and a lot of trouble seems to be 280-320 with the bunkering on some dog legs. My iron play has been pretty good over the last two months I’ve plotted my way around the last few months, I will take advantage of some of the shorter holes down wind but I will be patient off the tee and stick to my strategy which will be a lot of 2-irons off tees.”

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