Leona Maguire opts against restarting season in America

The LPGA Tour will resume on Friday in Ohio
Leona Maguire opts against restarting season in America
Leona Maguire watches her tee shot on the 10th during the Flogas Irish Scratch Series at Seapoint Golf Club earlier this month. Photo by Seb Daly/Sportsfile

Leona Maguire has opted not to restart her 2020 season in the United States this week, the Irish pro instead preferring to stay close to her Cavan home for the next month at least.

The LPGA Tour will resume on Friday at the Drive On Championship in Ohio following a five-and-a-half month hiatus due to the Covid-19 pandemic and Tour rookie Maguire, 25, had initially planned to be on the start line at the first opportunity.

Her management company Modest! Golf confirmed, however that will not be the case, telling the Irish Examiner Maguire had decided it was best to stay in Ireland and focus on the Scottish and Ladies British Open.

Both of those LPGA Tour events are scheduled for Scotland in mid-August with the Aberdeen Standard Investments Ladies Scottish Open due to tee off at the Renaissance Club on August 13 before travelling west to the AIG Women’s Open the following week at Troon.

The former Duke University star, who spent a record 135 weeks at the top of the World Amateur golf rankings, turned pro in 2018 and earned her full LPGA Tour card thanks in part to two victories, her first as a professional, on the Symetra Tour in 2019. She was off to flying start in the big leagues with a tie for fourth at the Vic Open in Australia in February before the world went into lockdown.

There have been few signs of rust since her return on the Flogas Irish Scratch Series for male and female Irish pros and leading amateurs, winning the second event at Seapoint on July 6.

Yet teeing it up in an international tour field will still represent a step into the unknown, as Maguire admitted during lockdown when asked how easy it would be to hit the ground running.

“Yeah, I don’t know! I suppose that’s going to be the big question for everybody. I don’t know if any of us has had this big of a lay-off away from competitive golf. It’s a bit strange having this big of a lay-off without being injured or something like that so I suppose it will be interesting to see how everything develops.

“It will be important to hit the ground running because we won’t have a full schedule, or there won’t be as many events as usual to finish out the season.” 

However many events Maguire chooses to play, she will be looking for some big finishes, explaining that the rewards for consistency in racking up solid top-10 and top-20 finishes are fewer for women pros than their male counterparts.

“The ideal way is to be very, very good every week. The men’s tour is different to the women’s in that the prize fund is that much bigger so consistently being in the top 10 in the men’s game you’d earn a very good living. Irish golfers would have done that in the past, journeyman pros or whatever you’d call them. 

"I know from my experience last year that two wins were massive, helped my jump up the money list more rather than having top 10s or top 20s so definitely big finishes are a huge help. The big finish in the Vic Open gives me a nice leg up on the money list, it helps to have big weeks in there. Harrington or McGinley told me that golfers make 90% of their money in 10% of the year and the other 10% in the other 90% of the year so you have to take your chances when they come along.”

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