Sister act on course for golf glory
Teenage twins Lisa and Leona Maguire are the latest talented youngsters to make their mark on Northern Ireland’s golf circuit — at the age of just 16.
The sisters are ranked in the top 10 under-18 golfers in the world and were the youngest players ever to represent Great Britain and Ireland in the Curtis Cup.
Just last weekend Lisa recorded her biggest win yet when she took the Spanish Ladies Open amateur championship on the final green.
Her twin Leona, the Portuguese Open amateur champion, was not far behind, missing out on a play-off against her sister after being pipped in the quarter finals.
With their sights set on the Under-18 Irish Open and the Scottish Ladies championship in a few weeks’ time, the Maguire sisters have no time to rest after flying home from their latest competition.
Coach Shane O’Grady has taught the pair for nearly six years and said the Co Cavan twins were his most “dedicated and talented” golf students.
“It’s great news for the girls to have their first two major championships under their belt,” he said.
“They are playing at around the same level and there’s a great spirit of competitiveness between the two.
“They are very level-headed and modest. They’re used to the attention now as they’ve played in Europe since they were 12 years old.”
He said the girls made sure they had time for “normal teenage things” despite their busy training schedule.
“They don’t have a rigorous schedule to stick to because they’re so young,” he said.
“Lisa and Leona have a very balanced life and do loads of other things as well as golf. It’s important to keep them level-headed and I know they’ll stay that way.”
Mum Breda said the whole family was “incredibly proud” of the young stars.
“They’ve been playing since they were nine years old so golf is just part of their lives now,” she said. They love to play so they get out on the green as much as possible, and they would go into every competition just hoping to do their best.”
Meanwhile Tara Doonan, the girls’ physical education teacher at Loreto College in Cavan, said the Maguire twins were “one of a kind”.
“In PE they would always be top of the class, whether it’s golf, Gaelic football or swimming,” she said. “They are both extremely motivated, mature for their age and modest when it comes to their golf.
“Often we have to ask them how they’ve got on in a competition, and it turns out they’ve gone and won the whole thing.”
Lisa and Leona aren’t the only twins to have successful sporting careers. Football has its fair share, from Danish brothers Ebbe and Peter Sand to the Dutchmen Frank and Ronald de Boer. Elsewhere, famous twins include figureskaters Isabelle and Amanda Nylander, American footballers Jason and Devin McCourty, plus Australian test cricketers, Steve and Mark Waugh.