Solheim Cup: Leona Maguire hopes to emulate debut season

Maguire bagged six birdies and two eagles in the six holes on which she made birdies at the Solheim Cup 2018 Women’s British Open Venue: Kingsbarns, Scotland Dates: 19-22 July Coverage: Watch live on…

Solheim Cup: Leona Maguire hopes to emulate debut season

Maguire bagged six birdies and two eagles in the six holes on which she made birdies at the Solheim Cup

2018 Women’s British Open Venue: Kingsbarns, Scotland Dates: 19-22 July Coverage: Watch live on BBC TV, Red Button, Connected TVs, online and mobile app.

Leona Maguire’s maiden Solheim Cup appearance as an unbeaten rookie was a lasting memory of the captain’s team celebrations on Sunday.

Maguire, just 26, finished in a tie for ninth at Woburn and will open her European Tour season on Thursday.

But the Ireland-born player, from Castlederg, near Tyrone, said one moment from the Solheim Cup will remain with her forever.

“We got on the podium and I am forever grateful because I didn’t expect to get on the podium at all,” she said.

The Northern Irishwoman won three tournaments during her rookie season – the Desiree Garside Trophy in February, the Dunhill Links Championship in April and the Europe Series.

Not only did Maguire secure a place on the team that beat the United States, she collected an impressive $50,000 (£39,000) bonus for being one of the four rookies who survived matchplay.

Only the USA team turned up for the morning session, in contrast to the Europeans, who arrived on Saturday and had only one practice round.

“I have got a good feeling that I will get out there again soon,” Maguire told BBC Sport NI.

“The more you get out there, the more you’ll understand how easy the courses are. I want to get out there and play every week.”

Maguire has ambitions to be on the Tour from next season, and the chances of that appear enhanced by the Solheim Cup experience.

“I am learning really quickly and I would love to do it again. That is the dream. That’s why you join.

“My grandfather is 94 and when I was growing up there was always talk about him playing and winning majors.

“But when I was 17 or 18 he played in the ladies World Championship at Phoenix and won it. That’s when I really realised that if he played golf, I could do it.”

Leona Maguire won a Champions Tour event in Denmark in January this year

While Maguire won the Irish Amateur Championship in 2008, the world number 17 is still little known outside of Ireland.

However, she is emerging as a genuine contender on the European Tour after finishing in a tie for second in her final event as an amateur in 2012.

This past season, she also finished fourth in the KLM Open after shooting a course record of 20 under par, won a Champions Tour event in Denmark and a European Tour event in the Czech Republic.

In between this year’s Solheim Cup win and Saturday, 19-year-old female Ryder Cup players Emelia Gorecka and Helen Alfredsson’s twin sister Kimmy joined the tour.

“It is exciting to see some of the new faces on the Tour,” Maguire said.

“The women playing on tour are tough and exciting and it will only get better in terms of their level of play.

“You are more used to playing against men in golf tournaments. You have to be mentally tough when you are playing against men and, if you have got that mental toughness, the golf is easier.

“It is great to see the female players are in the top 100 in the world and it is something that everyone should be proud of.”

Leave a Comment