Maguire targeting Women’s Irish Open win after learning to be the star

Ronan MacNamara

Leona Maguire Photo By Eóin Noonan/Sportsfile via Getty Images)

Like last year, Leona Maguire has been the centre of attention in the pre-tournament build up for the KPMG Women’s Irish Open and she will carry the bulk of the crowd with her for at least the first two days with the hope that she can produce another weekend charge and create a fever pitch buzz around Dromoland Castle.

Very much the pied piper, Maguire sucked in the home fans last year and she hopes to do so again having learned how to cope with being the star attraction on home soil as she chases her maiden win in Europe.

The Cavan star who is the heavy favourite to win the €400,000 event is used to high pressure situations having won twice on the LPGA Tour and produced a record breaking performance as a rookie at the last Solheim Cup. However, carrying home hopes on home soil is different gravy.


“It’s one of those things, it’s always special to come home and it will be the same for the lads playing at The K Club next week,” said Maguire. “You try to do as well as you possibly can. It’s a busy week for me, there’s a lot of demands on my time and you’re trying to give everybody as much time as you can and still prepare.

“There’s a lot of things to juggle this week and that was a big learning experience for me last year, but at the same time, you’re so appreciative of everyone who comes out and follows.

“You get people who say they’ve followed you for the past 10-15 years. People travel quite a way to get tickets to come here and watch and you want to do as well as you possibly can for them.”

In 2007 at the Old Adare Manor, Pádraig Harrington ended a 25-year wait for a home Irish Open winner and since then only Shane Lowry (2009) and Rory McIlroy (2016) have etched Irish names onto the trophy. An Irishwoman has never won the KPMG Women’s Irish Open and while Maguire is aware of the challenge, she knows a lot of things have to go her way on a week that is anything but normal.

“Everybody wants to win and most of your career is defined by wins, but a lot of things have to slide into place to win and a lot of those things are outside your control,” said the world number 14. “For me, it’s about executing on my preparation, making sure I’m as prepared as possible and I’m playing on my own game.

“For me, this year, it was about getting my driving better and more accurate off the tee and I’ve been doing that so far pretty well this year. I’m trying to keep going with that and giving myself chances every week if I can.”

Last year the likes of teenage talents Olivia Costello and Rebekah Gardner were lining the fairways after their rounds just to catch a glimpse of their idol and this year will surely be no different with seven Irish amateurs competing with Maguire but also looking to her for inspiration.

Irish Close champion Sara Byrne (Douglas), Bridgestone Order of Merit leader Emma Fleming (Elm Park) and Beth Coulter (Kirkistown Castle) are making their debuts in the event while Costello (Roscommon) and Kate Lanigan (Hermitage) and local favourite AIdeen Walsh (Lahinch) are back for a second bite of the cherry.

US Women’s Open star Aine Donegan will be making her second professional start and she will have no shortage of support as she tees up alongside Maguire and defending champion Klara Spilková.

“It’s fantastic,” Maguire said of the huge Irish amateur presence. “I think it’s a huge opportunity for them, and hopefully, they enjoy the week and don’t put too much pressure on themselves.

“I’m going to try and play as well as I possibly can. It’s just an added bonus this week that you have extra people cheering for you and clapping when you hit a good shot. Hopefully, I can give them as much to cheer about as possible.”

Stay ahead of the game. Subscribe to our newsletter to get the latest Irish Golfer news straight to your inbox!

More News

One response to “Maguire targeting Women’s Irish Open win after learning to be the star”

  1. Jim Quinn avatar
    Jim Quinn

    Wishing you the very best in the women’s Irish Open Leona Maguire.
    Looking forward to seeing you play.

Leave a comment

The reCAPTCHA verification period has expired. Please reload the page.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy & Terms of Service apply.