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Leona Maguire gives up Curtis Cup chance as US Open pro debut beckons

 

By Robert Jones and Paul Kelly

Leona Maguire has decided to give up the chance to make her amateur swansong in June's Curtis Cup and targeted a dream professional debut in the US Women's Open.

The Duke University star has informed captain Elaine Farquharson-Black that she will turn pro before Great Britain and Ireland take on the USA in New York.

"Elaine was disappointed," explained the 23-year-old Slieve Russell talent, who helped GB&I to victory in her third Curtis Cup appearance at Dún Laoghaire in 2016.

"She'd love to have her strongest team going there in June but she understood that I have to take this next step in my career.

"I've been waiting a long time to turn pro and at this point I am ready to go. My experiences in the Curtis Cup have been unbelievable. The win in Dún Laoghaire will always be a highlight, especially to win at home against a very stacked US team.

"At this point I am just ready to make that next step and not delay it."

Meanwhile, Ireland's team to face the USA in the International King's Cup has been confirmed at the conclusion of a final qualifying event at Lough Erne Resort.

Following four regional qualifiers at Ennis Golf Club (Munster), Westport Golf Club (Connacht), Dunmurry Springs Golf Club (Leinster) and Lough Erne Resort (Ulster), 46 players arrived at the Co Fermanagh venue focused on securing a place on Ireland's 12-man (six pairs) team to face the USA next month.

On the Faldo Championship course the Warrenpoint duo of Ryan Gribben and David Barron carded the lowest round of the day, a superb three-under par 69.

"We are delighted to be back at Lough Erne for the King's Cup," said Ryan, a Barton Shield winner with the Co Down club. "It's a top class tournament."

The Warrenpoint boys will be hoping to feature strongly next month (May 14-18) with the home side chasing a hat-trick of victories. Also returning for the 2018 event are the McKeever brothers from Kesh, Co Fermanagh, members of Donegal GC.

Meanwhile, Lisburn's Aaron Marshall is the new leader of the Bridgestone Boys International Order of Merit following a superb display at the Peter McEvoy Trophy when he finished second at Copt Heath, Solihull.

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