Leona Maguire: 'I’m not going to put pressure on myself to do things that other people want'

Maguire, 27, enjoyed a successful second season on women’s golf’s greatest stage, the former amateur world number one, claiming four top-10 finishes, a further six top-20 finishes and claiming her highest closing position in a major
Leona Maguire: 'I’m not going to put pressure on myself to do things that other people want'

At the Slieve Russell Hotel Golf & Country Club is Professional Irish Golfer and Davy ambassador, Leona Maguire. Davy is proud to support young Irish athletes. Picture: INPHO/Morgan Treacy

Leona Maguire knows expectations of her will increase following a breakout year on the LPGA Tour, she has lived with them since childhood, but the Irish star will only pay heed to the demands she places on herself.

Maguire, 27, enjoyed a successful second season on women’s golf’s greatest stage, the former amateur world number one, claiming four top-10 finishes, a further six top-20 finishes and claiming her highest closing position in a major with a tie for sixth at the Evian Championship.

The Cavan golfer capped it all with an unbeaten debut performance for Europe in their 15-13 Solheim Cup victory over the United States at Ohio’s Inverness Club to suggest she can thrive under the greatest of pressures.

Speaking from her American base in Orlando, Florida ahead of a return home for Christmas, Davy brand ambassador Maguire looked ahead to her 2022 campaign and suggested heightened expectations were nothing new and largely irrelevant.

“People’s expectations? I mean, people have expected things from me for the last 15 years , so there’s really nothing I can do about that, they can expect whatever they want. Ultimately it’s me putting in the time and the effort so the only one that gets to demand anything of me is me.

“And I will have high expectations for myself but at the same time I’m not going to put pressure on myself to do things that other people want. I’ll work as hard as I can and hopefully the results will follow suit but ultimately you need a lot of things to line up and you can’t be too focused on outcomes. It will be more on the effort that I put in and see where that takes me.”

Maguire described making her Solheim Cup debut for Europe as her highlight of the year, “probably the highlight of my career so far, I would say” and said the experience would help her to take confidence into regular LPGA Tour events.

“It’s a very different week, so it’s very hard to compare to a normal LPGA event. You’re in that team environment, foursomes and fourballs and all the strategy and everything that goes along with that and it’s matchplay as well.

“So it’s a very different week and a draining week in terms of two 36 holes back-to-back and then singles the last day and all the dinners and all the media and the crowds as well.

“So it’s hard to compare to a normal event but at the same time you try and take confidence in it, knowing that at those big moments when I needed to hole those putts I pulled those shots off that I did. So that’s something I can take with me into other events.

“We’ll sit down at the end of this year, assess how this year went and make new goals for next year like we did this year. The initial schedule’s out so we know more or less where I’m going to be playing; no Solheim Cup, no Olympics this year coming up so the schedule will look a little different and it will be a little easier to plan around and hopefully the travel restrictions and all that, it will be a bit more of a normal year.”

If Maguire, who rose from 177 in the women’s world Rolex Rankings last December to 43rd by season’s end, continues the rate of progression she enjoyed on the LPGA Tour in 2021, next year threatens to be another campaign to remember.

“I set goals at the start of every year. The big ones this year (2021) were qualifying for the majors and getting myself back into the (end of season) CME Group Tour championship. The main goal myself and Shane (O’Grady, her coach) set was to be in the top 40 at the end of the year.

“If we were top 50 last year, the goal was top 40 this year, so I more than achieved that. The Solheim Cup was an outside goal, and I obviously did that as well. So overall, I'm very happy with how the season went.”

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