Leona Maguire grabbed a Top-15 finish on LPGA debut

Bernie McGuire

Leona Maguire fired her third straight round in the 60s to announce herself on the professional scene in fine style at the ShopRite Classic in New Jersey.

The former World Amateur Number One returned a two-under-par 69 for an eight-under tournament total, good enough for a share of 15th spot on her professional bow.

The Cavan golfer looked remarkably at ease in paid company despite the expectation that accompanies her glittering amateur career, and five birdies today with three bogeys on the card was another early example that not much will faze the former Duke University star.

“I felt pretty calm,” she confessed of her first venture as a pro on the LPGA Tour. “I think it doesn’t feel all that different really. I’m just really playing my own game.”

And that’s all she needs to do because her own game has always been good enough. Now with no distractions, who knows where her golf may take her.

She’ll hope to draw motivation from 23-year-old, Annie Park, who claimed the title after the New Yorker bolted from the pack to beat all in New Jersey.

Four shots behind Sei Young Kim starting out, Park skated home in just 63 strokes to earn her first win on tour with a 16-under tournament total.

Maguire can take inspiration from the Long Island native, who earned her LPGA playing privileges via the Symetra Tour money list in 2015.

Maguire will now be going down the same route alongside compatriot, Stephanie Meadow, and the way the girls are currently playing, it’s not beyond the realms of possibility that two Irish women will be playing full-time on the LPGA circuit very soon.

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