• Remarkable record is one of the most memorable sports feats of all time • ‘Last year she was never as happy as she was during the Solheim Cup’
The 2016 Solheim Cup was the first time Leona Maguire had played in the tournament and four matches later the then amateur was seen celebrating her maiden victory over so-called “buzzard” Cindy LaCrosse in a 4&3 victory.
As was Maguire’s habit of doing in a dramatic moment. The 24-year-old from Terenure in Ireland was one of the stars of the game that day at Des Moines Golf and Country Club, and went on to shatter almost all expectations, including those of the other 24 teams in the draw. Maguire turned professional in 2017 and was runner-up on her debut in the LPGA Tour event in Italy the following month, but that was just the start.
Leona Maguire determined to become European Solheim Cup player after US Classic defeat Read more
Maguire’s impressive form continued in Florida last month and she finished tied for eighth in the Fichardt Classic in finishing the season in outright fourth on the LPGA Race to CME Globe. She also has 13 wins on the Ladies European Tour and has shot a world-best four-under par 68 to clinch the final stage of play in the Evian Championship. The winning time was a group-leading three under par for the tournament.
Maguire’s performance last month was enough to secure the third-place overall prize of $150,000 for the European team in a head-to-head with Michelle Wie and the American duo Lexi Thompson and Su Oh.
That is an extraordinary record and far-reaching profile in the game, even if it had attracted criticism as recently as a week ago, when the world No66 Maguire topped a celebrity event in Dublin on 14 June. An Irish GAA player, Killian O’Connor, was found to have punched Maguire on Saturday night. He was later charged with actual bodily harm and was released on bail.
Maguire shrugged it off, saying that it was more of a stag do and had been planned.
“At least he’s heading off on bail but I think I’ll tell him that’s not how we do it in the LPGA,” she said in an interview with Dublin Live. “I think it was a really silly thing to do. The women in the game are taking the threats seriously because one of them actually ended up in the hospital.”
The Solheim Cup will be played at the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship at Blackwolf Run in Wisconsin, a course where Maguire will contend in next month’s Symetra Tour event. The 12-strong European team will be named after that event and will be reduced to eight the following week.