Leona Maguire has become the oldest rookie in Solheim Cup history, and the oldest golfer to make the International team, having won six straight points on the tour in succession.
The 26-year-old from Dublin, who qualified for Europe’s team only after her older sister Fiona had to withdraw after falling ill, is one of four rookies on the International team, one of two from Ireland alongside Gerina Piller of the United States. Maguire was nine holes from joining Piller in qualifying on nine wins and four defeats in her European Tour season and then snapped Europe’s nine-match winning run by shooting a closing 62 in the women’s fourth major of the year, the Kraft Nabisco Championship.
Her win in California was confirmed on Sunday when she made a winning comeback to beat Stephanie Meadow in the US Girls’ Junior Championship in Oklahoma. “I just went out and was really relaxed,” said Maguire, who is ranked 223rd in the world but is destined to become one of the best young players in the world. “It’s all about confidence and knowing you’re going to do well regardless.
“Coming into today I wasn’t at 100% with my game. I was a little bit up and down. I’m thankful that I was there in the right place at the right time and didn’t let my nerves get to me.”
A week later Maguire had another scare, when she was taken ill while playing with Peter Lawrie in a pro-am event at Dundalk Garda station. “I went to hospital the day before to see a doctor and she told me I had laryngitis,” said Maguire. “She said I could play the week but not aggressively and I had to rest for a day. I’ve been feeling better since. My game’s coming along very well and I’m really happy with that.”