Leona Maguire continues her upward trajectory on the LPGA Tour
Leona Maguire’s exercise of ticking the box took on added importance, following her second place finish against Lydia Ko – the two-time major champion and former world number one – at the Lotte Championship in Hawaii, said Co Cavan, 26. the upward trajectory of the golfer to a new level of expectation and delivery.
While the decisive LPGA Tour victory proved elusive on the occasion, the tied second place for Maguire represented her career-best result on the Tour and in so doing, took her to 10th in the order of merit this season. It also took her to the top 100 in the world rankings. In other words, its tendency is higher and higher.
In a year in which she will represent Ireland at the Tokyo Olympics in August, Maguire’s current form increases the potential for her schedule to become even more crowded as she is high on the captain’s radar. Solheim Cup, Caitríona Matthew, for the game against the United States in Toledo, Ohio in September. Matthew has six wild card choices.
More immediately, Maguire – who earned a career-best salary of $ 125,834 for his brilliant work in Hawaii, taking his season’s prize to $ 226,542 – is looking to maintain his solid form when starting Hugel-Air Premia. This week’s Los Angeles Open at Wilshire Country Club in California.
“I call home and call my trainer [Shane O’Grady] and saying, ‘it’s close, it’s close,’ so it’s really close now, ”said Maguire whose improved form came on his back on an intensive winter program of strength and conditioning, which allowed him to add 20 yards to his ride, as well as gear changes that included a switch to graphite shafts in his irons and putting a new rider in his bag during the recent ANA Inspiration.
“I changed my irons which helped a lot, I gave myself a lot more chances and I racked up more yards. . . . everything is fine.
Of the move to the Los Angeles tour stop, Maguire added, “I’m going to try to keep that momentum going. Obviously, this is a quick turnaround. I’m not familiar with the new course, it’s somewhere we haven’t been before, and I can’t wait to take on this challenge. . . . I hope we can end this part on a positive note. “
Maguire – in his second season on the LPGA Tour, but technically still a rookie after this category was called off last year due to Covid – produced a superb final round 67 for a total of 21 under par 267 which allowed him to finish tied for second. in a group alongside Inbee Park, Sei Young Kim and Nelly Korda.
Ko, with Ulsterman David Jones on the sack, was compelling in ending a three-year winless drought on tour as she finished with a 65-for-260, which gave her a seven-stroke victory margin on the quartet of hunters.
It was the New Zealander’s 16th LPGA Tour title victory, but the first in 1084 days as the two-time Major and former world number one capped her recent revival in form with an imposing victory.
“There were times when I thought, ‘hey, I don’t know if I’m ever going to be back in the winner’s circle.’ . . . you know, with Jordan Spieth and Hideki Mtsuyama winning the last two weeks – and I know it’s been a while since they won too – it gave me some hope that I could maybe- be following this trend, ”said Ko.
On the PGA Tour, Shane Lowry produced a final 66 – with six birdies and a lone bogey – for a total of 11 under par 273 which pushed him up the standings (tied for 7 when he finished), as Stewart Cink sought. to close the deal after delivering a five-stroke lead in the final round.
“I’m pretty happy with that, but I’m going to go away and think ‘what ifs’ because I obviously shot two really good scores, but I was pretty poor. [on Saturday].
Lowry had entered the contesting weekend but fell with a third round 72 on a hot scoring day.
However, Lowry recovered with a solid final round – his birdies coming in second, ninth, 11th, 12th, 14th and 17th while the lone bogey arrived on the 10th, where he drove into a water hazard – and now plans to take a two. – a one-week break before resuming competitive play at the Wells Fargo Championship.
“I just made my schedule at the start of the year so far, and we said we would kind of re-evaluate and see where we are and see what we need to play in the future,” said Lowry said.