'That was for me, my family, for Ireland'


Heading on to the 18th tee at the Aramco Series tournament by PIF at the Centurion Club outside London, Leona Maguire needed a birdie to force a play-off – but she went one better than that.

A majestic hybrid approach shot from neatly 190 yards to inside 10 feet gave her an eagle putt and the 29-year-old Ballyconnell woman, renowned for her nerveless poise when she gets in contention on the back nine in the final round ever since her amateur days, grabbed the opportunity.

Afterwards, the Cavan superstar, the emotion clear in her voice, dedicated the shot to her family and the country as she became the first Irishwoman to win on the Ladies European Tour, adding this victory to her two previous outright successes on the LPGA Tour.

“I did it the hard way today, it was tough out there, I didn’t play my best golf but to be fair, Dermot, my caddie, just kept saying, ‘be patient, be patient’,” Maguire said afterwards, “and he said right before (hitting the second shot to 18), ‘let's hit the shot of the year here'. It was just a perfect number, and my trusty hybrids came in useful once again.”

Leona Maguire of Ireland with her trophy. Photo by Tristan Jones

Maguire held a two-stroke lead heading into the final round, birdied the first two only to see it all slip away with two uncharacteristic three-put bogeys and a double bogey when she drove out of bounds.

She birdied the 12th and then came that brilliant finale which sets her up well for the Evian Championship (the season’s fourth Major of five) and the Olympic Games.

“I knew Alison (Lee) was making a run, I kind of thought I had to get to 10 (under) to be honest, 10 was the number I had in my head. But I just hung in even when things weren’t going right and just waited for it to turn and it was nice to finish it in style on 18.”

Maguire sank the last putt with conviction to make even more history.

“I mean, I was just trying to hit a good putt. It was almost a little bit like a Solheim Cup,” she said.

“I knew no Irish girl had ever won on the LET before. So, that putt was for me, that putt was for my family, and that putt was for Ireland. It’s a proud moment for all of us.”