Leona Maguire is looking forward to what will be her first Major appearance as a professional golfer when she tees off on Thursday at the US Women’s Open.
The Cavan professional secured her place at the Country Club in Charleston, South Carolina earlier this month when she compiled rounds of 66 and 68 in Atlanta to qualify second and grab one of just two spots that were on offer.
Maguire went bogey-free for her 36-holes at qualifying and now that the wait is finally over, she’s hoping to take full advantage of a precious Major start in her first full season as a professional.
“I’m looking forward to getting started,” said Maguire. “It’s what you work so hard for, to be able to compete in Major championships amongst the best female golfers in the world.
“I’m just focusing on playing the best I can and sticking to my game plan. The course requires an immaculate short game so that’s the key to doing well around here. I appreciate all the support from back home and I will give it my everything this week.”
Maguire has enjoyed a remarkable run of form in the pro ranks this term, winning twice on the Symetra Tour while the $74,993 she has already earned has all but secured her LPGA Tour status for next season. But what is it that’s suddenly clicked for the Slieve Russell star?
“I think I had a good off season and worked hard on areas of my game that I needed to, like my putting which has been a lot stronger this year. I’ve also planned my schedule in detail to ensure I have some rest periods and it’s working out well so far.”
This week is all about the here and now, however, and the 24-year old is planning on enjoying what’s sure to be the first of many Major starts over a lengthy career at golf’s top table.
Maguire is no stranger to the US Women’s Open having contested the event twice as an amateur while at Duke University in 2016 and 2017. She missed the cut on both occasions but the experience should stand to the former world amateur number one when she competes as a working pro this time around in a city that has long been close to her heart.
“I have great memories of Charleston and the community really love their golf and the support will be first class this week,” added Maguire. “The course is in great condition and a tough test, which is what’s to be expected at a US Open. I’m looking forward to the challenge.”
Maguire will have no shortage of inspiration this week after being paired with two legends of the women’s game, Laura Davies and Karrie Webb for the first two days. The pair have eleven Major wins between them and no doubt Maguire will be listening intently as she goes about her own journey to hopefully join them in stature one day.
Meanwhile, Maguire will be joined in the field this week by compatriot, Stephanie Meadow who also breezed through qualifying in Arizona after firing rounds of 67 and 71.
Meadow is another with US Women’s Open experience having burst onto the scene as a 22-year old at Pinehurst in 2014 when she remarkably finished third on debut. Nobody would begrudge the bubbly Jordanstown professional a repeat performance.
Irish Tee Times (Irish Time)
13:29 – Stephanie Meadow, Marissa Steen & Esther Henseleit
18:29 – Leona Maguire, Laura Davies & Karrie Webb