Having picked up a plucky top-25 finish at the Symetra Tour season-opener on Sunday after jetting in late from Australia, Leona Maguire returns to action this week rested and raring to go.
It certainly wasn’t quite the final round she would have hope for at the SKYiGOLF Championship. Having started 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 seeing her home in 73 shots; 33 of which were putts.
The beauty of golf, however, is that another opportunity is never too far around the corner and the former world amateur number one takes her chance this week at the Natural Charity Classic at Winter Haven in Florida. And in an ominous warning to the Symetra circuit, Maguire is adamant that the mercurial form that got her to the top of that amateur mountain hasn’t been hit in paid company yet.
“Not yet, I’m still adjusting to professional life and all that comes with it,” said Maguire who clocked two top-20 finishes on the Ladies European Tour in Australia in February.
“I’ve lots of positives to take out the first few weeks but I have areas of my game that I want to work on too. But it’s been everything I expected and more. The time was right to turn professional and I have enjoyed every minute so far. I’m really happy with the team I have around me. Modest! Golf have taken on all the off-course activities to just allow me to play golf. The team is great and I am so pleased with all they do.
“Also, the support of my sponsors KPMG, Allianz, Slieve Russell Golf Club, RedBull and the Davy Group has been incredible.”
It’s no surprise that so much support flocked to Maguire upon her turning pro given her glittering amateur career. Yet one mainstay of that journey who’s now looking to forge her own path to the top is twin sister Lisa, with the pair spending an unusual length of time apart of late. Having shared almost every key event in their 23-year existence, does their enforced separation take some getting used to?
“A little, but we are in touch all the time and both have our individual goals for the season,” said Maguire. “We plan to have practice weeks at certain periods of the year together too and we’ll both look forward to those.”
132 players are set to tee up Thursday for their shot at the $125,000 purse as the Road to the LPGA looks to light up the Sunshine State from March 14-17.
The Symetra Tour annually awards LPGA Tour membership to the top-10 players on the season-ending Volvik Race for the Card money list and Maguire will hope to form part of the next graduating class after 24 events on the 2019 calendar. During that time, she will take on the Ladies of the European Tour too and after trading Australia for America last week to sample her first taste of a tour juggling act, Maguire has no doubts that she’s up for the challenge that the logistics of the operation will present.
“I’m feeling good,” she added. “It’s great I have a full schedule for the season and can plan my year. Yes, there is a lot of travel but I’m comfortable with my schedule and have rest weeks scheduled in so I’m looking forward to what’s ahead.”