The Saturday finish ended up being historic at the 2022 Drive On Championship at the Crown Colony Resort in Fort Myers, Florida. Leona Maguire played some terrific golf Saturday to become the first woman from “The Emerald Isle” to win on the LPGA Tour.
Player’s faced a Crown Colony Resort Golf Club with some very favourable conditions. The golf course (36-36 – 72) played a total length of 6,354 yards with temperatures reaching a high of 23*C or (73*) in the afternoon. Winds were 10-15 mph NNE/NE. Overall, the playing conditions were quite benign, considering the conditions the fields faced during the first two stops of the LPGA Tour’s “Florida Swing”.
From County Cavan, Ireland to Duke University, the Symetra Tour (now known as the Epson Tour), and her play during the last Solheim Cup, watching Maguire develop you knew that it was a matter of time before she’d collect her first win on the LPGA Tour.
Maguire said, “I think the birdie on 7 was huge. Brittany [Altomare] had gone on that run early, and as I expected, I knew someone was going to go low today. I was just trying to keep up with her and Marina early on”. She was quite correct as there were several low scores carded. Scores of -9 (63) by Xiyu Lin and -7 (65) by second place finisher Lexi Thompson were notable scores that were turned in.
“That birdie on 7 and 8 as well out of the pine straw was huge for momentum making the turn, and then another two on 10 and 11. I thought the shot on 11 was in,” said Maguire. “But, yeah, just some really solid iron shots to set up those chances.”
Ironically enough, Maguire’s first victory was on the day before her mother’s birthday. Maguire will be returning home to Ireland next week, and we’ll soon find out if she receives the celebratory welcome like she did after the European’s Solheim Cup victory in 2021.
As the final round neared completion (by the 15th hole) the chase pack slowly started to distance themselves from Maguire, who remained focused on the task at hand. When asked, Maguire stated that there were no leaderboard’s present out on the golf course and it wasn’t until the leaderboard on the 18th fairway that she knew where she stood.
Maguire credited many individuals that got her to the precipice of her first LPGA Tour victory. Included in her credits was time at Duke University where she played on the women’s golf team, her caddie Dermot Byrne and of course her family.
The LPGA Tour is off for the next four weeks before returning to action in Malaysia and Singapore.