She may have lost her undefeated Solheim Cup record, but Leona Maguire bolstered her fearsome Cup reputation with a valiant performance in the morning foursomes with little help from Anna Nordqvist and then almost singlehandedly secured Europe’s first full point with a sublime back nine alongside Georgia Hall in the fourballs.
Squaring off against Lexi Thompson and world number two Lilia Vu, Maguire counted on each of the nine closing holes but it was her incredible chip-in on 18 that will live long in the memories and will no doubt be a critical motivational factor should Europe go on to secure a third successive Solheim Cup win for the first time in the event’s history.
“Yeah, I feel like we played great all day,” she said when she and Hall were interviewed greenside after the dramatic finale to the match, “and it would have been really annoying not to come away with a point. So Georgia kept it together on the front nine and then I had a couple on the back and, yeah, it’s nice to catch up.”
Following up, she was asked to describe the shot on 18, responding: “Yeah, I mean, it came up a little bit short. My third shot spun back. But it was a really nice chip. Chipping off this Bermuda is quite tricky. I just wanted to get it close to give Georgia a chance to have a go at the putt, but nice to go one better.”
Whilst Maguire played down her own heroics, Hall was giving credit where it was due.
“Yeah, especially because since it’s both of our 36th hole of the day,” she replied when asked how hard fought the win was. “So definitely feeling it a little bit. But Leona’s shot on the last was phenomenal and just what we needed and that’s why she’s such a great player at the Solheim.”
Trailing 4-0 after the morning foursomes, to come out on the right side of a 3-1 fourball result was crucial, but Maguire felt they got less than they deserved in the early games.
“I don’t think we did an awful lot wrong this morning,” she said. “It was just to go out and fight in the afternoon and show what we’re capable of. Just really proud of the entire team for fighting. Get a quick turnaround tonight, get some sleep, some good food, and we’ll be ready to go in the morning.”
With quite strong winds and a course playing quite firm and fast, the general standard of play was incredible in the afternoon matches in particular and Maguire acknowledged that, given the conditions, every point is hard fought and crucial.
“Absolutely,” she said. “I think both teams are playing incredibly well. It was really tough with the wind. I don’t think I ever hit as many 3-woods in my life. But every half point, every point, is really hard-earned and just really proud of the whole team for fighting back this afternoon.”