LPGA TOUR

Maguire aiming to peak for the majors and is relishing US Open return

by Ronan MacNamara  

Today, KPMG is teeing off into a new horizon as it announces a four-year extension to its existing partnership with Irish professional golfer, Leona Maguire. KPMG has been a proud supporter of the Cavan golfer ever since she turned professional in 2018 and today’s announcement represents a long-term commitment which will see Leona remain a KPMG ambassador as she progresses into the next stage of her career.

Leona Maguire is looking for improved performances in the Major championships as she looks to take her game to the next level this season.

The 2022 Major championship schedule promises to be an exciting one with the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship heading to Congressional and the AIG Women’s Open landing at Muirfield for the first time. Maguire will also tee it up at the US Women’s Open for the first time since 2019 at Pine Needles near Duke University. 

The Cavan native is going to tailor her game for the majors and is hoping to impress in what will feel like a home US Open in North Carolina.

“Yeah, the majors are the biggest events, they are the events you want to be doing well in," she said. "I mean the preparation will be focused on trying to peak around those events. I am looking forward to going to Congressional where Rory [McIlroy] won one of his majors and Pine Needles as well. I've never made the cut in the U.S. Open, so that  has to be the first goal  let alone win it or finish in the top ten.

“It’s a bonus that it’s in North Carolina going back to somewhere where I spent four incredible years at Duke and it’s a part of the country, I really enjoy playing in."

Maguire competed well at the majors in 2021, registering a top-10 and two top-15 finishes. The 27-year-old equalled the low round at a women’s major with a final round 61 at the Evian Championship as she finished 6th. 

Having sought out Shane Lowry’s former caddie Dermot Byrne last year, Maguire hopes the experienced bagsman can help her in the big events this year.

Byrne has caddied at Congressional and Muirfield during his 25-year career, while Maguire has experience at the other three Major championship venues and hopes course knowledge will play in her favour this season.

“Just trying to make those improvements, learning how to prepare for a major, not trying to do anything extra or force the issue. Dermot was a huge help to me in the majors in knowing how to plan out those venues and learn to maybe play a little bit more conservative on and then the holes to maybe tackle a bit more aggressively so it's nice to have him on the bag with that sort of experience at those venues. 

“I’m pretty sure he was with Shane [Lowry] when they were at Congressional, so it will be nice to get his take on it as well. Obviously very different tees and approaches probably, but at the same time he’s been to Muirfield before he's been to Congressional, so that's nice. 

“I've been to Pine Needles. I played the Chevron course in Palm Springs so between the two of us we should have some good insight before we even get there.

“Yeah you want to play well in the majors but there's no guarantees. There's also 15, 16 other events that it would be great to do well in so you just have to take your chances when you get them and try and make sure your game is in the best spot possible heading into those events," she added.

After a decorated amateur career to much fanfare, Maguire’s rise to the professional game hasn’t been as rapid as many wished. The Ballyconnell girl took the long way to the LPGA Tour but in 2021 she delivered on the lofty heights expected of her.

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Today, KPMG is teeing off into a new horizon as it announces a four-year extension to its existing partnership with Irish professional golfer, Leona Maguire. KPMG has been a proud supporter of the Cavan golfer ever since she turned professional in 2018 and today’s announcement represents a long-term commitment which will see Leona remain a KPMG ambassador as she progresses into the next stage of her career.

The Slieve Russell ambassador racked up five top-10s including two runner-up finishes. She announced herself as a world class player when she inspired Catriona Matthew’s European charges to a second win on US soil in the Solheim Cup. Maguire earned 4.5/5 points in a record-breaking performance as a rookie, taking down Nelly Korda twice as she formed a wonderful partnership with Mel Reid.

Despite reaching a career-high 40th in the Rolex Rankings, Maguire doesn’t feel any added pressure heading into 2022 as she bids to become Ireland’s maiden female winner on a major tour. 

“Not really. I suppose it's still the same tour, still at a lot of the same venues,” she said. “I'm not really treating them as two separate years, it's really just a continuation of where we left off in November at CME. So just trying to learn from things last year, some of the golf courses and some of the changes I made, but overall not trying to do anything radically different. 

“I'm not putting too much pressure on myself in terms of expectations, not trying to force things. I know my game is close, it was good enough to perform at the Solheim Cup, it got me into contention at some LPGA events. Shooting 61 at Evian. It's not very far away so not putting unnecessary pressure on myself to have to perform straight away. Let it happen, let the preparation and all of that take care of itself.”

Maguire kicks off her 2022 campaign at the Gainbridge LPGA at Boca Rio where Stephanie Meadow is also in action.

 


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