Solheim sensation Leona Maguire fires record 62 at Pelican LPGA, looks to become tour’s first Irish winner

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Belleair, Florida

Upon her return from the Solheim Cup, Leona Maguire, the undisputed Woman of the Match at Inverness, rode through her hometown in a gold BMW convertible with a “LEONA” license plate.

“It was basically like St. Patrick’s Day in Ireland,” said Maguire, who hails from the one-stoplight town of Cavan.

Folks that normally never watch golf, tuned in to see the local hero lead Europe to victory in front of an all-American crowd in Toledo, Ohio.

“I mean, it was nothing like I’ve ever experienced before,” she said of the homecoming. On Thursday at the Pelican LPGA Championship, Maguire put together another special performance, recording a tournament and course record 8 under 62 at Pelican Golf Club.

There wasn’t a bogey in the group of 2020 Pelican champ Sei Young Kim (64), Lexi Thompson (65), and Maguire.

Maguire’s swing coach, Shane O’Grady, who has guided her since she was 10 ½, watched her compete in person at the Pelican for the first time since the penultimate Symetra Tour event in 2019, when Maguire earned her card.

Were it not for a few putts that grazed the cup, O’Grady couldn’t help but think about the would-be 59. “It was Hogan-like,” he said. “She didn’t hit a bad shot.”

Maguire hit 14 fairways and 14 greens and took only 24 putts, carding a 31 on both sides. She birdied all four par 3s en route to a two-shot lead.—Agencies

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