It wasn’t quite the final round she would have hope for but Leona Maguire claimed a top-25 finish nonetheless at the SKYiGOLF Championship, the opening event of the 2019 Symetra Tour season in Florida.
Starting the final day just four shots behind the leaders, hopes were high for the Cavan professional ahead of round four and when she birdied the first, these only multiplied.
However, that gain on the first proved one of just three on a day where Maguire’s short-stick abandoned her. Four bogeys on the card saw her home in 73 shots; 33 of which were putts.
Having found 13 of 14 fairways and 14 of 18 greens in regulation, the statistics will point Maguire’s practice to a putting green over the coming days no doubt but after clocking two top-20 finishes on the Ladies European Tour last month in Australia, her three-under par total at Charlotte Harbour National Golf Club on Sunday and subsequent tie for 25th is another encouraging result already for the young globetrotter in 2019.
At the top, American Alana Uriell overcame compatriot Lauren Coughlan and Paraguay’s Julieta Granada in a three-way sudden-death playoff to win the event with an incredible eagle at the first extra hole after she hit her second shot from the fairway to 10 feet and proceeded to bury the eagle putt for the victory.
Trailing by one shot entering the final round of her professional debut, Uriell fired a 5-under par 67 to get to 12-under overall and said; “I’m going to remember making that eagle putt for a long time. I was definitely nervous, but really the best part was that I embraced the nerves, visualised the shot and it turned out really good.”
“If you told me this before the week started, I wouldn’t believe you. It feels really good and it was such an honor to play in this tournament.”
The win means a lot more to Uriell than receiving a trophy in her first start as a pro. When she was 14 years old, the University of Arkansas alumna lost her mom, Barbara, to breast cancer. This victory was for the woman who raised her and there’s no doubt an angel was on Uriell’s side; “She was really the person that encouraged me to play golf and inspired me,” Uriell said. “Standing here today, it’s safe to say that I made her proud and that makes me really happy.”