Leona Maguire pipped to the NCAA Championship in Illinois

Final round of 70 saw the Cavan native finish one shot behind winner Monica Vaughn

Leona Maguire was pipped to the NCAA Championship title for the second time in her career at Rich Harvest Farms in Sugar Grove, Illinois. Photo: Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Leona Maguire was pipped to the NCAA Championship title for the second time in her career at Rich Harvest Farms in Sugar Grove, Illinois. Photo: Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

 

Co Cavan’s Leona Maguire was pipped to the NCAA Championship title for the second time in her career at Rich Harvest Farms in Sugar Grove, Illinois on Monday.

The world number one amateur competes for Duke University in the US where she has won multiple titles. However, the NCAA – the biggest of them all – eluded her again this year.

A two under par round of 70 on the final day saw her finish on two over par (218), joint second with Wake Forest’s Jennifer Kupcho, and just a shot behind Arizona State’s Monica Vaughn.

Maguire improved her scores each round during the championship, after opening with a 77 on Friday, she fired a one under 71 on the second day, followed by that 70 on the last day. With the top five finish, Maguire joined only Celine Boutier and Amanda Blumenherst as Duke golfers to finish in the top five of multiple NCAA Championships.

The 22-year-old also came close in 2015 when she finished tied second for the first time.

“She knew exactly where she stood – she was four back and knew in order to win this she needed to play well,” commented Duke head coach Dan Brooks on Maguire. “She shot two under today. The wind wasn’t quite as strong today, but it was still a very difficult. Two under was exceptional golf.”

Maguire pushed hard on the final day and will rue missed birdie chances on each of her last three holes, any of which would have forced a playoff.

“I think when we saw the course on the practice round, I thought even par was going to be a good number, especially given the conditions that were forecasted,” said Maguire.

“Definitely the past two days in the wind, I am very happy with how I played. There wasn’t a whole lot I could do about the first day with the wind, rain and cold that we got. I am just glad that I stayed patient, kept giving myself chances and took advantage of as many of them as I could.”

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