Different Strokes: Maguire and Meadow chase Major honours

On the day . . . Twitter Twaddle . . . World of Mouth . . . In Number . . . What’s in the bag . . .

Leona Maguire and Stephanie Meadow will tee it up in the KPMG Women's PGA Championship, one of the five Majors, at Aronimink Golf Club in Pennsylvania this week.

Maguire goes into the tournament in good form having shot a closing round of four-under 67 to finish in a tie for 24th place at the ShopRite LPGA Classic in New Jersey at the weekend, 12 shots behind the winner, England's Mel Reid.

Meadow (72) finished in a tie for 58th place which leaves her in 56th place in the LPGA standings with Maguire in 47th. The prize fund for the PGA Championship is €4.3 million (€3.65 million) so both Irish women will be hoping for a good week.

Maguire in her rookie season on LPGA Tour was the subject of a recent Instagram Live Q&A session with the Tour’s content producer Hope Barnett about how she’s settling in. The Cavan golfer was asked about her highlight of the season to date to which she replied “finishing top five in the Victoria Open”.

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She then went on to explain how her enjoyment of the tournament was enhanced by the presence in the gallery of Olympian and Irish Times columnist, Sonia O’Sullivan. Maguire elaborated: “She [Sonia] lives in Melbourne and came to watch me so that was special having her there, cheering me on over the weekend. She is someone that I have looked up to my entire life, she is one of our most successful athletes in Ireland and to have her there was really cool.”

She was also asked about whether she misses her twin sister, Lisa, who retired from professional golf. Maguire said: “She [Lisa] started working for my management company, Modest Golf, so she was travelling with me at the start of the year and taking care of all of that. Obviously with the travel restrictions now she is back home in Ireland.

“I still talk to her every day. We have always been pretty close. We grew up doing everything together and it is a little different now not seeing each other every day but we are getting used to it.”

Maguire is gradually acclimatising to life on Tour even with the curtailed schedule, pointing out that the goals she set at the start of the year have had to be tweaked.

“I am just trying to treat this year as a learning year and get used to the used to the golf courses and how everything works out here [on the LPGA Tour], figuring out how many practice rounds to play, how to structure my week, how many events to play in a row, which is a little bit of trial and error.

“[It’s about] using it as a prep year for next year but at the same time trying to finish up as high as possible every week. Trying to qualify for the Majors was a big thing and I did that with the ANA and British Open (and again this week for the Women’s PGA Championship).

On this day – October 6th, 1928

Leo Diegel beat Al Espinosa 6 and 5 in the 36-hole final of the US PGA Championship at Baltimore Country Club in Lutherville, Maryland. It was the first of two consecutive victories in the tournament, then a matchplay event, as he would go on to defend the title the following year.

Born in Wayne County, Michigan, Diegel won 28 PGA titles and eight other tournaments, his first in the latter category as a 17-year-old teenager when triumphing in the 1916 Michigan Open. He was runner-up to Ted Ray at the 1920 US Open, to Bobby Jones in the 1930 British Open and represented the USA in four Ryder Cups from 1927-1933. He won the Canadian Open on four occasions and was a noted ball-striker but struggled with his putting.

He came up with a method to try and solve the issue that became known as ‘Diegeling’, which involved pointing his elbows outwards while gripping the putter. His victory in the 1928 PGA Championship was made even more notable because he ended the run of the great Water Hagen, who had won the tournament four years in a row, 22 victories in succession, before losing 2 and 1 to Diegel in the 1928 quarter-finals.

Hagen had beaten Diegel in the 1925 quarter-final and 1926 final of the PGA Championship. Digel accounted for Gene Sarazen 9 and 8 in the 1928 semi-final and Espinosa in the final. The following year he beat Hagen in the semis en route to defending the title. His golf career ended in his mid-30s after suffering nerve damage to a shoulder in a play wrestling accident in Australia. He was inducted into Golf's Hall of Fame in 2003.

Twitter Twaddle

Thanks to @ScottishOpen for having us again this year in these difficult times. I thought @renaissancegc played extremely well this week. It was also my first top 10 of the year so to celebrate I am going to have some of your country's finest whisky. Top effort from Eddie Pepperell (@pepperelleddie) to get the correct spelling for Scotch; that's attention to detail.

Word of Mouth

"Yeah, like I say, struggled with my game really coming back after Covid-19 and when playing in America but felt like I played really, really well this week. Yeah, one putt, missed it in the playoff, but there's plenty more. It's just golf. Still have to work on my putting a bit more and hopefully improve that for the next time I play." Tommy Fleetwood is reasonably happy despite his playoff loss to Aaron Rai in the Scottish Open.

In Numbers – 11

Sergio Garcia’s victory in the Sanderson Farms Championship is his 11th on the PGA Tour and his first since the 2017 US Masters at Augusta National. The Spaniard’s return to winning ways is timely with the Masters coming up next month.

What’s in the bag

Aaron Rai, winner of the Scottish Open at the Renaissance Club.

Driver: TaylorMade M6, (9 degrees at 9.5) with Aldila NV Blue 70 S shaft
3-wood: TaylorMade SIM Max, (15 degrees) with Mitsubishi Diamana BF 70 TX shaft
Hybrid: TaylorMade GAPR Hi, (18 degrees) with Graphite Design Tour AD Hybrid 85 X shaft
Irons (4-9): TaylorMade P7TW, all with True Temper Dynamic Gold Tour Issue S300 shafts
Wedges: Titleist Vokey SM8, (46, 52, 56, 64) all with True Temper Dynamic Gold Tour Issue S300 shafts
Putter: TaylorMade Spider X Copper
Ball: Titleist Pro V1 '19

Know the rules

Q: A strong gust of wind causes Player A's ball to move on the putting green before she has had a chance to mark, lift and replace the ball. Must Player A replace the ball on the original spot?

A: If natural forces (such as wind or water) cause the player's ball at rest to move, there is no penalty and the ball must be played from its new spot. There is an exception to this which states that if the ball on the putting green moves after it had already been lifted and replaced, the ball must be replaced on its original spot, however as the ball had not been lifted, that does not apply here (Rule 9.3).