Alex Maguire prepares to do something Major

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

By Daragh Small.

Alex Maguire describes his Dad as his best friend, the man who helped fund his golfing journey to this point, and no one has played as big a part in getting him to The Open.

It has been a steady rise for the Meath man but when the opportunity presented itself this year through the R&A’s Open Amateur Series, he took full advantage.


Maguire dominated the field in the St Andrews Links Trophy, and that five-shot win, coupled with a quarter-final showing in The Amateur Championship was enough to seal his place at Royal Liverpool.

Maguire was at St Andrews last year after narrowly missing out on his chance to reach the 2022 championship, where he watched Cam Smith claim the title.

No being involved was a bitter pill to swallow but he bounced back, returned to Ireland from collegiate action in the States and successfully defended his East of Ireland crown.

The following week his father, Sean, was following him over the Swilcan Bridge at St Andrews as he went on to make history and become the only GB&I amateur to reach this Hoylake renewal.

“My Dad is my best friend,” said Maguire.

“Even growing up, before I went off to the States we spent so much time together with travelling and the car. We could sit for three hours in silence in the car and wouldn’t feel awkward.

“It would be normal to us because we would have so much time together. We know if we don’t talk it won’t affect our relationship. He has been massive for me.

“He has cried after every win because he is proud of me. He has been a massive influence, on not only my golf because he helped fund me and give me a lot of opportunities, but he has influenced the man I am today.

“I have seen how he carries himself. He is very popular with his friends and the people in the golf club. I look up to him and I take a lot of my life advice from him. Me and Dad are so close.

“As soon as I win, you have got a family there, my mam, sister, girlfriend and friends. He takes a step back, he is never the first person to congratulate me. He is always the last so we can have the longest hug. At St Andrews, to be able to have him on the bag up the last hole was so so special.

“He has always said: ‘I put the money into it and you go and win the trophies for me.’ When I can win trophies for him it’s such a special thing to have him around when I am winning. And make up for all of the money I have cost him over the years.”

Maguire grew up in Mornington, where together with Laytown and Bettystown they form the only point of County Meath which juts out into the sea.

“We only really have a Centra, a lot of estates and a lawnmower salesman,” joked Maguire.

The 22-year-old was a keen soccer player in his youth, bigger than his teammates until his teens, he excelled on the field before others finally got their growth spurts.

Being an accomplished sportsperson no doubt helped to shape the mindset, something clearly visible in the way Maguire confidently struts around the golf course today.

“I wouldn’t say I’m cocky at all when it comes to outside of golf,” said Maguire.

“I am confident in who I am and I am happy with the man I am today. I am pretty happy with how I carry myself.

“But when I get on the golf course, it’s important to be confident in yourself. My dad always said: ‘I can believe in you but if you can’t believe in yourself it makes no difference.’

“I go out there and I try to believe in myself as much as I can and I take on what I am capable of. I might portray myself as being confident on the golf course, knowing that if I hit a bad shot, it’s okay, the next shot I can hit a really good shot and make up for it.”

Maguire first took up the game when he was just eight but soccer was his go-to until three years later when he realised golf could be the sport for him.

By 2015 he was winning the Irish Boys U-14 Amateur Open, he topped the Leinster U-16 Order of Merit two years later and was subsequently selected for the Irish Boys squad in 2018.

Maguire never looked back and as he prepares to embark on his final year of his studies at Florida Atlantic University, golf is very much at the forefront of his focus. Then shortly after 5pm on 1 July, he received the call of a lifetime.

“The R&A expected the winner of the Amateur Series to be at the European Am so they had all of the stuff set up for the European Am, the interview and the flag and all that stuff,” said Maguire.

“Even when I got the call I didn’t know if it was going to be good news until Ewen said he was delighted to offer the spot at The Open.

“I had my family around me and my brother-in-law and my best friend was there because we went pitch and putt that morning. I was very very nervous probably the whole day until the result came in from European Am and I could relax. I knew I had won the series.”

Maguire went straight to Laytown and Bettystown Golf Club with family and friends to celebrate but he knew there was a new focus now and kept it to just one pint that evening.

He will play in a Major for the first time this week and knows this could change everything.

“I played Royal Liverpool in the April leading to the Open in 2014,” said Maguire.

“My Dad managed to get me out there. We went as a two-ball and it was a very memorable day.

“My recent golf has been good enough to get me there. You look at my two recent wins around two different golf courses. One that I have never played before and one I have played pretty much every week. I feel like my space there is validated. I have also won on two Open golf courses in Portrush and St Andrews.

“If I can play the golf I played in St Andrews anywhere it will be good enough to contend in any Major regardless of what sort of land it is. If I hit the ball the way I hit it then, I putt the way I putted, I should come away from the week very happy.

“I know Royal Liverpool is different to St Andrews but it is not going to be ten shots harder per round. I am aware of my expectations going into the week and knowing that I have played some great golf under serious pressure.

“It gives me a lot of confidence going into Liverpool, when I know how big the event is. If I can do it at St Andrews and play well, maybe I can do it in Liverpool and play well there.”

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