Leona aims for maiden LPGA Tour win in 2021

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Cavan superstar Leona Maguire is targeting a first win on the LPGA tour in 2021 as she looks to push on following a successful debut season.

The 26-year-old Ballyconnell woman qualified for the LPGA's Tour Championship last month after finishing in the top 60 in the rankings and her aim now is to take her career to the next level by challenging in as many tour events as possible this year.

"I'd like to get into contention a bit more in LPGA events, work my way up that leaderboard," Maguire told BBC Sport.

"Maybe try and get a win if I can and qualify for those majors."

Leona is also looking forward to a second Olympic appearance after qualifying for the Rio Games in 2016 when she was ranked as the world's top women's amateur.

"Tokyo will be a big one come August to really try and do as well as I can there."

However, as with most sporting fixtures, uncertainty surrounds the Tokyo Olympics due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.

"Fingers crossed. The Olympics is the biggest sporting event in the world and there are so many athletes in the world hoping it goes ahead and even for the general public to have something to root for and look forward to.

"We've got the Evian Masters and the British (Women's Open) either side of it. It's going to be a busy six, seven weeks in July and August."

The stand-out statistic from the Cavan right-hander’s rookie season was in regard to her putting; Maguire was the best on tour with the flat stick, which was an extraordinary achievement for a player in her first year competing against the best professionals in the world.

"My coach and I have worked hard on it and dissected it and tried to figure out what was wrong,” she said.

"Just hitting putts over and over again and doing different drills and I finally got it to click this year."

After the LPGA season finally resumed in August, Maguire's steady form saw her move into the world's top 200 and "cracking the top 100" will be among her early goals during 2021.

At the moment, she is home in Ireland but plans to return to the US in good time to prepare for the start of the new campaign which will begin in the final week of February.

"At the minute it's a bit of indoor work just fine-tuning a few things with the swing. I'm back in the gym getting a little bit stronger."

Her time at home has enabled Leona to catch with twin sister Lisa who was also a star amateur before they both turned professional in the summer of 2018.

Lisa subsequently stepped back from competitive tournament play although she remains heavily involved in the sport through her role with Niall Horan's Modest Golf management company.

"I saw very little of her this year,” said Leona. “She went to the first few events with me in Florida and Australia in March but then was at home the rest of the year.

"In November, it was the first birthday we ever spent apart so that was a little strange. It sums up 2020 I suppose."

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