Gutsy playoff win for Leona Maguire — First collegiate triumph
 Leona Maguire. Picture courtesy © Tim Cowie

Leona Maguire. Picture courtesy © Tim Cowie

Duke freshman Leona Maguire clinched her first collegiate victory with a dramatic playoff win in the Darius Rucker Intercollegiate at Hilton Head on Sunday.

The 20-year old Cavan girl showed he class when she birdied the 14th, 16th and 18th for a two under 69 to force extra holes with Sweden's Madelene Sagstrom (LSU) on six under par. 

With former Curtis Cup team mate Stephanie Meadow cheering her on at Long Cove Club, Leona had fired a competitive course record 65 at the Hilton Head course on Saturday to take a one-stroke lead into the final round.

And she eventually justified her No 1 position in Golfweek's Women's Collegiate Individual Rankings when she birdied the 18th again in sudden-death to clinch a long-awaited win.

Scores — Individual | Team

The leading pair were seven shot clear of the third place finisher, which is a good indication of the level that Leona has achieved since making the move to the US.

The Curtis Cup player from Slieve Russell, who is coached by Shane O'Grady, has enjoyed an impressive but somewhat frustrating start to her freshman year. Before arriving in South Carolina for the Darius Rucker Intercollegiate, she had racked up four Top-7 finishes in her first five starts for Duke without winning.

Duke also won the team title on Sunday, to claim what's been described as the coolest trophy in collegiate golf — an acoustic guitar signed by Darius Rucker.

Leona's twin sister Lisa also enjoyed  positive final day, rallying with a 74 to tie for 72nd.

Duke also won the team title on Sunday, to claim what's been described as the coolest trophy in collegiate golf — an acoustic guitar signed by Darius Rucker.

Leona's twin sister Lisa also enjoyed  positive final day, rallying with a 74 to tie for 72nd.