Maguire is a triple ACC Champion after playoff victory

Bernie McGuire

Ireland’s Leona Maguire wakes up this morning as a triple ACC Individual Champion after she defeated her Duke University teammate Jaravee Boonchant in three playoff holes to take the title at the Grandover Resort & Conference Center East Course in Greensboro, N.C.

Maguire’s individual victory and Boonchants score also helped Duke to their second straight and overall 21st ACC Championship as she and Boonchant went head-to-head after both birdied their closing hole and finished in a tie at six-under, 210, and then needed three playoff holes to decide the winner in pouring rain. In fact, Duke featured four golfers in the top five of the leaderboard after it was all said and done.  Maguire (1st), Boonchant (2nd), sophomore Ana Belac (T3rd) and junior Virginia Elena Carta(T5th).

“They are both very competitive,” said Duke head coach Dan Brooks.  “There wasn’t a whole lot of chatting going on between them during the playoff, I can tell you that, and that is just because they are competitors. Off the course, when they are not competing like that, they are good friends. We have a real tight team. Everybody pulls for one another, and that’s great.”

“We had a great tournament,”he added. “I am real proud of the team. They adapted to the conditions well on a course they have never seen. There are some intimidating holes out there, and they did a great job.”

Maguire and Boonchant were back and forth all day, after Maguire opened the final round with a one stroke advantage at six-under-par.  After a bogey on the first hole Maguire went back ahead with a two-foot birdie on No. 2.  Both players suffered bogeys on the challenging fifth, but Boonchant took the lead on the 510-yard, par five sixth as she chipped in for eagle.

Both Blue Devils suffered three-putt bogeys on twelve and then notched four straight pars.  Boonchant had a bogey on No. 17 to make it a tie at the top at five-under with one hole remaining.  On the par five 18th, Boonchant holed a four-footer for birdie to move ahead by one stroke as Maguire looked on. Maguire then hit a great shot from the rough down the fairway and with 72 yards remaining and needing a birdie to send it to a playoff she came through big time as she hit her 52-degree wedge to two feet and holed her 11th birdie of the tournament.

The Duke golfers went back to the No. 18 tee box and both had good drives, before it looked like Maguire had the advantage as Boonchant hit approach into the green long, while Maguire was approximately 12 feet away for birdie.  Boonchant hit a perfect chip to eight feet and needed to make that for par.  After Maguire missed her birdie chance and made par, Boonchant rattled in an eight-footer to send the match to another playoff hole.

On the second playoff hole, Maguire’s chip into the green came up short and left her with a 12-footer for birdie and Boonchant had a seven-footer for birdie.  Maguire missed her putt and Boonchant had hers left to clinch her first collegiate victory but missed and sent it to a third playoff hole, which was at the par four 17th.

On the third playoff hole, Boonchant found the left fairway bunker and had to chip out into the fairway.  Maguire’s drive found the fairway and after her approach was left with a 15-foot birdie putt, which just missed.  It all came down to Boonchant as she needed to drain a 10-foot par putt to take it to another hole but it slid just left and Maguire took the title.

“It really came down to the very end, the last putt,” said Maguire. “For me to birdie the last hole to get into the playoff, I knew Jaravee was going to push me the entire way. She has had a great year as a freshman. I won my first ACC title in a playoff, so to finish off my senior year and win another one in a playoff is special.”

Maguire’s ACC Individual title was the third over her impressive four-year career as she also won the trophy’s in 2015 and 2017.  She joined only Duke standout Amanda Blumenherst (2006-08) as three-time ACC individual champions in league history.

Senior Lisa Maguire finished the 54 holes with a 79 on Monday and was tied 40th overall with a 229.  She collected birdies on No. 2 from 10 feet and was just off the green on No. 5 and rolled in a second birdie.  Maguire had only 29 putts on the day and closed with nine pars over her final 11 holes.

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