Posts Tagged ‘Duke University’

Magical Maguire claims Ladies British Amateur Championship title

June 18, 2017

Leona Maguire with the Ladies’ British Open Amateur Championship trophy and the Pam Barton Memorial Salver

Leona Maguire cemented her place at the top of the amateur world rankings with victory in the 114th Ladies’ British Open Amateur Championship at Pyle & Kenfig.
The 22-year-old beat Spain’s Ainhoa Olarra 3&2 in the 18-hole final on the South Wales coast to seal the biggest amateur win of her career.
The Duke University student will now take her place in US Women’s Open next month and the Ricoh Women’s British Open at Kingsbarns, near St Andrews, in August.
The Irish international follows in the footsteps of Stephanie Meadow, who defeated Spain’s Rocio Sanchez Lobato 4&3 at Carnoustie in 2012. Both Leona and Stephanie represented Ireland at the Rio Olympics in 2016.
“It’s been a fantastic week and I’ve played some really great golf. It’s a real highlight of my career to have won the championship,” said Leona.
“It’s one of the biggest amateur events and one that I felt I hadn’t given as good a go as I could have done in the past few years. It’s great to get my name on the trophy alongside some of the biggest names.

“Ainhoa played really great golf and she pushed me all the way to the end. I knew I was going to have to play well. She threw all the birdies she could at me and I was glad I was able to rise to it.”

Leona made a flying start after dispatching a birdie opportunity on the first but the match returned to all-square on the following hole, Olarra saving par while Maguire struggled with a bogey.
Maguire found herself behind, remarkably for the first time in the championship’s entire match play stage, after Olarra, who won the Spanish Amateur Championship in 2013, picked up a birdie on the third to move 1 up.The South Carolina University scholar saw her lead pulled back immediately when Maguire fought back with a birdie to win the fourth and was powerless to stop the Curtis Cup representative regaining control of the contest on the fifth after she rolled in a birdie on the par-five to take a one hole advantage.

Maguire, who recently won the Annika Award for the second time in her career, strengthened her position even further after winning the seventh and ninth to go three up but Olarra reduced the deficit at the 10th.
Nevertheless, the three-hole gap was restored on the 11th when the two-time McCormack Medal winner notched up her fifth birdie of the round and the Duke University student remained steady with a par on the 12th to go four up after her Spanish opponent could only manage a bogey.
Olarra refused to throw in the towel and the youngster from San Sabastian halted Maguire’s momentum by winning two of the next three holes, producing a vital birdie on the 15th.
The match was decided on the following hole, however. Olarra had struggled with her putting throughout the match and a bogey on the 16th left Maguire with a par putt to win the championship which she duly rolled in for a 3&2 victory.
In the morning’s semi-finals, Maguire defeated Finland’s Anna Backman 3&2 to secure her passage to the final. Olarra closed out her match with Norway’s Stina Resen on the par-three 15th, rolling in a birdie putt to seal a 4&3 win.
Maguire’s win capped an excellent Championship for Ireland which saw Paula Grant (Lisburn) to lead qualifying. Five Irish players made it through to the match-play stages.

Leona Maguire puts professional career on hold to complete University degree

November 23, 2016
Leona Maguire was presented with the 2016 Mark H McCormack Medal by current world number one and three-time winnner of the medal Lydia Ko ahead of the women's Olympic Golf event at Rio 2016

Leona Maguire was presented with the 2016 Mark H McCormack Medal by current world number one and three-time winnner of the medal Lydia Ko ahead of the women’s Olympic Golf event at Rio 2016

Leona Maguire’s decision to turn her back on professional golf – at least in the short term – has been broadly welcomed with Paul McGinley and Catriona Matthew amongst the vocal supporters on social media.
The current world number one ranked amateur had cruised through LPGA Qualifying School Stage II in October but rather than go on to Qualifying Stage III in Florida next week, Leona has decided to remain an amateur and complete her studies at Duke University.

In a statement, the 21-year-old from Co Cavan said; “Upon considerable deliberation, I have decided to withdraw from stage III of LPGA Q-school and not pursue LPGA membership for 2017.
“This is not a decision that I have taken lightly but one that I feel is best for me in the pursuit of my long-term aspirations.
“I am thankful for the continuous support of my parents, friends, teammates, Coach Shane O Grady, ILGU and everyone at Duke and for their guidance in helping me to reach my decision.”

In June, Leona played a key role in GB&I’s Curtis Cup victory against the USA at Dun Laoghaire GC and more recently, she helped Ireland capture an historic bronze medal at the World Amateur Team Championships alongside Olivia Mehaffey and Annabel Wilson.
She added;“My dream is and always has been to compete alongside the world’s best on the LPGA and this remains resolutely unchanged.

“It is my intention to turn professional after graduation in May 2018 and I look forward to enjoying many more unforgettable experiences representing Duke, Ireland and myself as an amateur golfer until then.”

The summer also saw Leona represent Ireland at the Olympics where she finished tied for 21st and claim the Smyth Salver Trophy after finishing the RICOH Women’s British Open as the top ranked amateur.
Leona is studying Psychology, Business and Accounting at Duke.

Leona Maguire receives Mark H McCormack Medal boost ahead of Rio medal bid

August 17, 2016
Leona Maguire was presented with the 2016 Mark H McCormack Medal by current world number one and three-time winnner of the medal Lydia Ko ahead of the women's Olympic Golf event at Rio 2016 today.

Leona Maguire was presented with the 2016 Mark H McCormack Medal by current world number one and three-time winnner of the medal Lydia Ko ahead of the women’s Olympic Golf event at Rio 2016 today.

Leona Maguire has won the Mark H McCormack Medal for the second consecutive year as the leading women’s player in the 2016 World Amateur Golf Ranking.
Maguire will compete for Ireland in the Rio 2016 Olympic Games this week alongside Stephanie Meadow and speaking from Brazil she said she was delighted to win the prestigious medal once again.
“It is a huge honour for me to win the Mark H McCormack medal again this year,” said Maguire.
“I am incredibly grateful to my family, my coach Shane O’Grady, the Irish Ladies Golf Union and the Confederation of Golf in Ireland and everyone at Duke University. Without their support and help this would not be possible.

“This year has been great for me so far and winning the McCormack Medal makes it even more special. I am so excited to compete and represent my country in the Olympics this week and earning the medal gives me extra confidence, given how strong amateur golf is right now, as I prepare for the event.”

The Cavan born golfer played a significant role in Great Britain & Ireland’s Curtis Cup win against the USA in June, contributing four points to the 11½-8½ victory.
Last month, she won the Smyth Salver after finishing as the leading amateur at the Ricoh Women’s British Open at Woburn, in a tie for 25th place, and also played in the U.S. Women’s Open at CordeValle.
Following the Olympic Games, in the autumn, Maguire will take part in Qualifying School for the LPGA Tour. As long as she remains an amateur she will receive an exemption into the Ricoh Women’s British Open and the U.S. Women’s Open in 2017.
Right now, her focus is on making a medal bid for Ireland.
“We’ve been to a bunch of events – hockey and swimming and saw Michael Phelps. So it’s just been really fun.” she said.

“It’s an amazing thing to be a part of and sort of just try to soak up the entire like Olympic atmosphere. I am really excited.  As a kid, I’ve been watching the Olympics every four years, so to actually be a part of it is incredible. It’s nice getting to play in the first group on Wednesday, so it will be great to get out there and be an Olympian.”

The R&A and United States Golf Association (USGA) award recognises Maguire’s outstanding performances this year and is named after Mark H McCormack, who founded sports marketing company IMG and was a great supporter of amateur golf.
Johnnie Cole-Hamilton, Executive Director – Championships at The R&A, said, “For Leona to win the Mark H McCormack Medal for a second year running is an outstanding achievement and I would like to congratulate her on another tremendous season. To consistently deliver excellent results over two years requires real dedication and commitment. She is a hugely talented golfer who is a worthy winner of the award.”

Lisa Maguire bags Ulster Women’s title at Royal Belfast

May 25, 2016
Lisa Maguire with her mum Breda

Lisa Maguire with her mum Breda

Lisa Maguire (Slieve Russell GC) beat Aedin Murphy (Carlow GC) 3&1 to collect the Ulster Women’s Championship at Royal Belfast.
The 21-year-old, who has recently finished her second year of study at Duke University in America, won the second and third holes against Murphy in the final and never looked back.
She maintained her two hole advantage through nine holes and won the 12th to extend her lead to three. Murphy won the par three 14th to reduce the gap but Lisa eventually wrapped things up on the 17th.
“I won the Ulster Girls’ title previously so it was nice to get my hands on the Senior title,” said Lisa.
“It was really good. We played the British Girls’ at Royal Belfast a number of years ago so it was a course I felt very comfortable playing. It’s always good to get some competitive golf in during the summer so I was really happy with how the couple of days worked out.”
Lisa is planning a busy summer that will include playing in the British Amateur Championship and hopefully representing Ulster in the Inter provincials.
While it would seem that her twin-sister, Leona, currently representing Duke University in the NCAA Championships is destined for the professional ranks, Lisa’s path is less clear.
A psychology student with two years of her studies still to complete she is weighing up her next move.
“It’s always nice, especially over the winter to be able to play golf all year round,” she added
“It’s a good balance over there, school and golf. I will see how the next two years pan out, playing college golf and see where that takes me. I will make a decision after that I guess.”
Belvoir Park’s Ciara Brennan beat Lavinia Bowe (RCDL) to win the Junior Championship.

ILGU have created a winning environment that is paying dividends

April 14, 2016

2013 Irish Girl's Close Championship
Something is going very right with ladies amateur golf in Ireland.
Olivia Mehaffey’s recent victory in the Irish Women’s Open Strokeplay Championship propelled her into the top 10 of the World Amateur Golf rankings. (See the latest rankings here http://bit.ly/22wvICk)
The Scarva, Co Down teenager is ninth, while Co Cavan’s Leona Maguire continues to dominate the rankings after ascending to the number one spot in May of last year.
The rise of the likes of Leona and Olivia hasn’t happened by accident, the ILGU has worked very hard under High Performance manager David Kearney to get the right structures and personnel in place and it is clearly paying off.
Speaking on the NI Golf podcast, Johnny Foster, who started as the HP short game coach towards the end of last year, said that he had been impressed by the professional environment he had encountered on joining the HP team.
“They have put the notion of a winning culture out there and there is an emphasis on really good coaching and the girls have bought into it,” added Johnny.

“The coaches share ideas, there is a common push to develop everybody and the girls seem to love it. They have a great catchphrase – ‘Enjoy the game, beat the competition’.”

“They have this happy accident of talent, training, environment and now, they have traction because the girls are winning trophies. It’s very exciting.”
Olivia agreed, putting it more simply – “We are working with the best of the best,” she said.

Listen to Olivia and Johnny Foster on the very first – NI Golf podcast here –