HomeGolfLeona comes up clutch at Aramco London: "Hopefully this inspires more young...

Leona comes up clutch at Aramco London: “Hopefully this inspires more young Irish girls” – News – Irish Golf Desk


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“The KPMG a couple of weeks ago felt like a turning point for my season,” she said. “I played some nice golf and got myself into contention. I’m excited to be back in Europe, seeing familiar faces, playing familiar courses, sleeping in my own bed, and eating good food. It’s a nice atmosphere, and I’m excited for the summer ahead.”

The shot to the 18th will go down as one of the shots to the season given the circumstances.

“It was a nice number,” she said. “It was 185 to the pin, 4 hybrid for me. I love my hybrids. Always a running joke on the LPGA, the girls give me some stick for it. My Solheim Cup teammates give me some stick for it. But again, it came in pretty clutch and it was nice to finish in style get this one over the line.”

As for the putt, that, too, brought back Solheim Cup memories.

“It was a little bit like a Solheim Cup,” she said. “I knew no Irishwoman had ever won on the LET before. That putt was for me, that putt was for my family and that putt was for Ireland. It was a proud moment.”

Speaking later to RTÉ Radio, she recalled how, as a 20-year-old amateur in 2015, she lost the LET’s Ladies European Masters in a playoff not far from the Centurion Club.

“We were close in The Buckinghamshire not too far from here with Dad on the bag all those years ago, so it’s nice to go one better today,” she said. “That’s the first win on the LET for an Irish woman. Hopefully, there will be many more in the years to come.”

She added: “It’s surprising it took this long to get an Irish winner on the LET, showing how strong the fields are. Hopefully, this inspires more young Irish girls. There’s a good crop of young talent coming through, and this might inspire even one girl to take up the game or pursue it professionally.”

Walsh is already an LET player and now looks to have secured not only her card but the chance to perhaps give Solheim Cup skipper Suzann Pettersen food for thought should she notch a maiden win,

The Castlewarden rookie, who is also coached by Maguire’s long-time swing guru Shane O’Grady, made seven birdies and a closing eagle three to card a stunning eight-under 65 to set a six-under clubhouse target that was later matched by Lee and eventually surpassed by Hernandez, who was looking to end a 14-year wait for her second win,

“A great day for Irish golf,” said the Kildare Walsh (23), who tied for third for the second week running to pocket €21,756 and jump seven spots to 12th in the Order of Merit and third in the Rookie of the Year standings.

The result only boosts Walsh’s prospects of earning one of two spots in the AIG Women’s Open awarded to the top five players in the Order of Merit not already exempt after the Dutch Ladies Open in a fortnight.

“Absolutely delighted with tied third,” Walsh added. “I think I would have taken that at the start of the day. My goal was just to go out there and break 70 and try to climb up the leaderboard as much as I could.

“I’ve been playing great golf for the last two weeks and I’m really happy with how my game is trending, so lots of positives coming into this summer stretch of golf. But obviously delighted for Leona. She had a great finish and a great win. Yeah, a great day for Irish golf.”

Maguire was drenched in champage at the finish by Anna Nordqvist and her sister Lisa, who is now studying dentistry.

“I mean, she wasn’t there for my two LPGA wins. So nice to have her here for this one. She’s been a big part of my journey growing up, playing together. She does a lot of the work behind the scenes, making my life as easy as possible. This is the first event she’s been out to this year, so we might have to get her for a few more and keep the momentum going this summer.”

If it was a great day for Walsh and Maguire, it was a bittersweet day for Bernhard Langer (66) as he bade farewell to the DP World Tour at the BMW International Open in Munich, missing the cut by two shots after a closing 73.

“It’s hard to put into words,” the 42-time DP World Tour winner said. “It’s kind of been a dream come true for me, growing up in a village of 800 people where nobody knew what golf was.

“When I told my classmates that I was going to play golf they thought I was crazy, they thought I was a mini golfer. People had no idea, it was really a strange situation.

“Even when I finished school and I tried to become a golf professional people didn’t even know what that was, it didn’t even exist as a profession in a way. So it was very difficult and complicated but it was my dream.

“I was able to live that dream for 50 years.”

At the top of the leaderboard, Scotland’s Ewen Ferguson made eight birdies and an eagle in an eight-under 64 to lead by two shots from France’s Romain Langasque at Golfclub München Eichenried.

“You get days where you feel like everything goes your way,” Ferguson said. “I hit a couple of bad putts that caught the lip and went in, that’s just how it works out sometimes. It’s nice.”

It was more of a struggle for West Waterford’s Seamus Power at the PGA Tour’s John Deere Classic, where he added a one-under 70 to his first-round 64 to trail early clubhouse leaders CT Pan and Aaron Rai, who signed for eight-under 63s, by six shots on eight-under.

In the Arnold Palmer Cup at Lahinch (see online report), Ireland’s Max Kennedy and Sara Byrne and Ryan Griffin and Kate Lanigan won their mixed fourball matches to help the International team lead the USA 6.5-5.5 at Lahinch.

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