Leona Maguire fights the fatigue for top-10 finish at Galgorm as Maja Stark lifts the title

Cavan golfer finishes with 68 for 281, with back-to-back birdies on final holes, in the ISPS Handa World Invitational

In a case of double delight, Sweden’s Maja Stark and Scotland’s Ewen Ferguson closed the deal quite brilliantly in each case to lift the women’s and men’s titles respectively in the ISPS Handa World Invitational at Galgorm Castle.

For 22-year-old Stark, a breakthrough LPGA Tour win brought with it membership of the main circuit for women’s golf as she produced a course record final-round 63 for a total of 20-under-par 273 for a five-strokes winning margin over American Allisen Corpuz. Meanwhile, Ferguson claimed a second DP World Tour title with a closing 69 for 12-under-par 268, which left him three shots clear of compatriot Connor Syme and Spain’s Borja Virto.

Leona Maguire, who admitted to some mental errors in her play, followed up her career-best fourth-place finish in a Major at last week’s AIG Women’s Open with a tied-10th place. The Co Cavan golfer finished with a 68 for 281, with back-to-back birdies on her finishing holes.

“I think last week took a lot out of me. I was probably a bit tired coming into this week and not ideal prep with the two courses [Galgorm and Massereene] and not a lot of rest. I stayed relatively patient. I let [Saturday’s third-round 76] get away from me, I got a bit frustrated but overall it’s been a solid week,” said Maguire, who is set to take a small break at home before resuming play back in the USA in a few weeks’ time for the season’s run-in.


She added: “I’ve two weeks off now and then we’ll go back and do three in a row in the States, and then just kind of wait and see what happens with Asia and stuff like that. Yeah, [the aim is to] finish the season strong in Florida… I’ll keep ticking away. I don’t think in the middle of the season you can really put the clubs away, but I’ll take it easy for a few days and then sort of gear back up again sort of later in the week.”

Teenager Tom McKibbin was leading Irish player in the men’s tournament, producing a strong weekend in following his third-round 66 with a closing 67 for 274 which lifted him into tied-10th, while David Carey closed with a 74 for 282 to finish in tied-34th.

For Ferguson, his second tour win to add to his Qatar Masters success earlier in the season moved him to 17th on the updated DP World Tour order of merit. Of completing a wire-to-wire victory, he said: “It’s not easy. Every night you’re going to bed thinking, ‘I’m leading, I’m leading. Last night’s sleep wasn’t too great, it was bloody roasting as well. But, it’s just unbelievable [to win].”

Meanwhile, Shane Lowry — the only Irish player to make the cut in the St Jude Championship in Memphis, the first of three FedEx Cup playoff events — finished with a 69 for four-under-par 276, in tied-48th.

Philip Reid

Philip Reid

Philip Reid is Golf Correspondent of The Irish Times