Belfast Telegraph

Monday 15 September 2014

Maguire twins are youngest ever Curtis Cup members

Leona Maguire

The records keep tumbling for County Cavan Maguire twins Lisa and Leona who were at 15 years of age yesterday named as the youngest ever members of a British and Irish Curtis Cup team.

And they were delighted to get official confirmation from the Ladies Golf Union yesterday.

The twins were thrilled when they heard they were on the team.

“It's a great honour to be selected,” said Lisa. “The Curtis Cup is the pinnacle of the women's amateur game and for both of us to be selected is unbelievable, especially since no Irish player made it last time.”

Leona said: “It’s amazing — we may even get to play together. We also know some of the girls on the American team, so we are looking forward to playing them.”

Irish golfing legend Mary McKenna, who is captain of the Great Britain and Ireland team for the match at Essex County Club, Massachussetts, Boston, from June 11-13, was delighted to see the twins and Danielle McVeigh on the team.

As a nine-time Curtis Cup player herself, McKenna badly wants to beat the Americans for the first time since 1996, when the match was played in Killarney.

“They have been right up there with the best of them and have won so much that I had no doubt they would be selected,” McKenna said of the twins.

“As for Danielle, I'm delighted for her. She's in a class of her own. Danielle will lead my team. At 22, she's the oldest, but she's a great character and I'm very happy with the whole team.”

”They're a smashing bunch of players and I'm very confident that we can go to Boston and give a good account of ourselves.”

McVeigh won the Welsh Strokeplay and the British Strokeplay last year, and her Helen Holm victory at the weekend confirmed her status as one of the best players in these islands.

She is a student at NUI Maynooth on a Paddy Harrington Scholarship, and has previously spent some time at university in America.

Meanwhile, the twins just keep playing way out of their age group and winning titles.

Among the highlights are: 2008 (aged 13): both were the youngest finalists in Irish Women's Close Championship history, with Leona beating Lisa; in the Irish Girls Championship Lisa beat Leona; they both played in the Junior Ryder Cup team in Kentucky; Leona won the French Under-18 championship.

In 2009 (aged 14), Lisa did the double of Irish Strokeplay and Irish Women's Close Championship; Leona won the Helen Holm trophy and the French U-21 title; they became the youngest ever to play on the Vagliano Cup (GB and Ireland v Europe) team; they played in the Junior Solheim Cup; and they helped Ireland win the European Girls Team Championship.

This year Leona has retained her French U-21 crown and Lisa reached the quarter-finals of that event.

Their coach Shane O'Grady from Black Bush GC said: “They enjoy playing and practising and winning, and they're as good as anyone in the world. You can't beat enthusiasm and confidence, and they have plenty of that.”

American Michelle Wie, however, remains the youngest ever Curtis Cup player. She was 14 when she played at Formby in 2004.

  • GRAEME McDowell will play the Players Championship at Sawgrass next week after just hanging onto his place in the top 50 of the world ranking.

The Portrush player is at 49, Rory McIlroy remains in 13th while Gareth Maybin rises 47 places to 114.

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