Leona Maguire takes second Close crown


Golf:Slieve Russell’s Leona Maguire defeated Royal Portrush’s Stephanie Meadow by two holes to win her second Irish Women’s Close Amateur Championship at Co Louth today.

The two Curtis Cup stars met in the decider having notched semi-final victories over Lucy Simpson (Massereene) and Carla Reynolds (Seapoint) respectively earlier in the day.

Maguire, winner of the title back in 2008, raced to a three-hole lead after starting par, birdie, birdie, birdie. Meadows reacted strongly with a birdie of her own at the short fifth and impressively squared the match with further birdies on six and nine.

Turning for home and with the match finely balanced, Maguire restored her advantage at the long 11th, holing from 25 feet for another birdie. The next two holes were halved in regulation pars and then came that match-turning-moment at the 14th.

In heavy rough off the tee and again with her approach, Maguire looked to lose her advantage as Meadows’ approach finished 15 feet above the hole. But Maguire brilliantly pitched to three feet, and after Meadows missed, sank the putt for an unlikely half.

Maguire went on to win the short 15th in regulation and although Meadows won the next in par, she closed out the tie at the last after her opponent lost her ball in heavy rough off the tee.