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Leona Maguire hopes Irish eyes will smile again at Congressional


Leona Maguire looking to end her Major duck at this week’s PGA Championship

Leona Maguire looking to end her Major duck at this week’s PGA Championship

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Leona Maguire looking to end her Major duck at this week’s PGA Championship

Silver linings are never much consolation to golfers, but Leona Maguire was able to take a light-hearted look at last week’s Meijer LPGA Classic.

After a superb final round 65 to claw back a seven-shot deficit at Blythefield Country Club and force a play-off with Nelly Korda and Jennifer Kupcho, Maguire’s elation turned to heartbreak when she missed a three-foot putt on the second extra hole to hand the title to Kupcho.

The frustration did linger, of course, but ahead of this week’s KPMG PGA Championship at Congressional Country Club, the 27-year-old Cavan woman was able to see the funny side.

“We actually ended up making our flight. Our flight was delayed, so that kind of was the only silver lining of it,” she chuckled.

But despite the disappointment, being back in the mix to win the title was a significant step forward for Maguire having come into the event looking for some form after missing four cuts in five starts, and she nearly walked away with a trophy.

She will hope she can go one step further this week and end her wait for a Major title having put herself in a position to win two of the last four, finishing in the top-10 at the Evian Championship and US Open.

“I think just putting myself in contention as much as I can,” is the Slieve Russell woman’s approach to ending her Major duck.

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“I mean, the field is pretty much the same as it was last week, apart from (World No.1) Jin Young (Ko) is here. There were nine of the top-10 players in the world last week. I know I could do it any week of the year, so it’s just a case of taking that into the Major.”

Congressional is, of course, the venue where Rory McIlroy won his first Major when he romped to an eight-shot victory at the 2011 US Open, and Maguire will hope Irish eyes are smiling on her this time around, but there is also an awareness that whoever wins this week will make a different type of history.

This week the field will compete for the biggest prize in women’s golf after it was announced the fund would be increased to $9million, with the winner set to earn $1.35m.

“This was one I had already circled on the calendar, but there’s definitely a little bit extra incentive this week,” said Maguire, who is sponsored by KPMG.

“And it’s unbelievable the support that KPMG have given since coming on board in 2014 and me personally in 2018.

“I think we’re only going to go from strength to strength. The quality of the golf out here right now that’s going to be played this week is fantastic, and it’s great to see KPMG sort of supporting that and elevating us in terms of both the venues and the purse.”

Meanwhile, Beth Coulter will face England’s Jessica Baker in the last-32 of the Women’s Amateur Championship at Hunstanton this morning after defeating Switzerland’s Natalie Armbruester 2&1 in the last-64 yesterday.

Should the 18-year-old Kirkistown woman win, she will also play her last-16 tie this afternoon.

Elsewhere, Knock’s Katie Poots holds a share of the lead at the halfway stage of the Connacht Women and Girls Championship after some impressive shooting at Castle Dargan.

The teen carded rounds of 75 and 67 to sit alongside Roscommon’s Olivia Costello and Royal Tara’s Hannah Guerin at six-under-par, three strokes clear.

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