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Maguire upbeat for opening major despite Match Play defeat – News – Irish Golf Desk


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Leona Maguire might have lost 4&3 to Nelly Korda in the T-Mobile Match Play final in Las Vegas, but she heads to Chevron Championship believing she has the game hit the Major jackpot.

The Co Cavan star was not at her best against the world number one, especially on the greens, but she left Sin City feeling great about her chances of contending for major glory next week.

“Obviously, Nelly is the best player in the world right now, probably male or female,” Maguire said of Korda, who became the first player since Lorena Ochoa in 2008 to win in four consecutive LPGA starts.

“She is playing unbelievable golf and I knew I was going to have to bring my A+ game if I was going to have a chance.

“Just didn’t putt well enough, and hats off to Nelly. She really didn’t give me much of a chance. Yeah, it’s very impressive what she’s doing.”

Korda birdied the second, fifth, sixth, and seventh to go four up, and while Maguire won the ninth to turn just three down, she had no answer to the big-hitting American.

Korda restored her five-up lead with a winning par at the 10th and a birdie at the 12th.

But while the Ballyconnell battler birdied the 13th and 14th to reduce the deficit to three holes, a bogey at the 15th proved the killer blow.

“Yeah, I just wanted to keep Nelly on the golf course for as long as possible,” Maguire said of her mini fightback. “I never give up. It’s something that I never do. I try to fight until the very end.

“Yeah, ultimately, it wasn’t good enough today. There are a lot of positives to take from the week, especially heading into Chevron in a couple of weeks’ time.”

Maguire is still seeking her first Major win and after topping the strokeplay qualifying at Shadow Creek by three shots, she’s hugely upbeat about her form.

“Yeah, I mean, lots of positives,” she said after pocketing $187,584 (€173,000) to move up to ninth in the Race to CME Globe standings.

“Obviously, right now, it’s pretty disappointing to finish the way I finished, but it almost felt like two separate tournaments this week, the stroke play event and the match play event.

“To lead the stroke play around this golf course by three at the end of the three days was something I can take a lot of positives from and be very proud of.

“Nelly is the best player in the world for a reason. She brought her A-game today, and mine wasn’t good enough. Fair play to her for winning again this week.”

As for the Woodlands next week, she added: “Yeah, I feel like my game is really close. Obviously, I played some great golf this week. Hit some really nice shots. I just needed to putt a little bit better today.

“So I’ll work on that. I hear the greens at Chevron have been changed a little bit. Major championships ultimately come down to putting. A little bit of extra work on my putting and we should be in good shape.

“Ultimately, you know you’re going to have to make birdies if you want to beat her. Unfortunately, I didn’t make enough today.

“Hats off to her. She is an incredible player, and she is playing some great golf right now. All I could do is play my own game and that wasn’t good enough today.”

Maguire had the Indian sign over Korda in the Solheim Cup, winning three and losing just one of their four clashes in foursomes and fourballs.

But after seeing her five-up lead cut to three up after those Maguire birdies at the 13th and 14th, Korda confessed that she feared another Irish fightback by Europe’s Solheim Cup talisman.

“It’s always nice to get a lead, kind of like a cushion in a sense,” Korda admitted. “But it’s Leona. She’s such a fiery competitor. I knew when I lost those two holes in a row, 13 and 14, that I really needed to put my foot down to finish the match off.

“It was kind of an interesting day. Leona hit some putts that she obviously normally wouldn’t, but I just stayed in my own bubble really.”

She added: “You know, Leona is such a great competitor. I’m pretty sure she has the winning edge on me when it comes to 1 v. 1 in Solheim Cup.

“I knew that today was going to be a battle, but hopefully this is a good preview for September.”

As for her feat of winning four LPGA events in a row and the possibility of making it five wins in a row in the season’s opening major, Korda said: “Yeah, gosh, I can’t even wrap my head around it, honestly.

“Such a whirlwind of the last three weeks. I just feel like I was just in go-mode constantly.

“Yeah, played really well today. Just stuck to my game plan of fairways and greens and made the least amount of mistakes.”

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