Leona Maguire has emerged as a potential Olympian for Irish team boss Paul McGinley following her heroic second place finish in the Ladies British Masters on Sunday.
While the 20-year old plans to remain amateur return to Duke University in the US in September, she picked up world ranking points for her incredible performance at The Oxfordshire and is now ranked 336th in the Rolex Women's World Golf Rankings.
Leona is already No 1 in the World Amateur Golf Rankings but the 60-strong field for next year’s Olympics will be chosen from the Olympic Golf Ranking, which is based on the Rolex standings, and she is now a contender.
“I don’t really understand the Rolex Rankings but I haven’t spoken to Paul about it at all,” she said of the Rio de Janeiro games.
“The focus is on the European Ladies’ Team Championship in Denmark this week. As for turning professional, as I said before, my focus is on the summer and the plan is still to go back to college in the autumn.
“If the results keep going my way it’s a big stepping stone to bigger and better things. But my plan is to back to Duke. We will just take it as it comes.”
Ireland’s Olympic team for the women’s event currently comprises only word No 121 Stephanie Meadow though Galway-born Irish-American Alison Walshe, who is 161st in the world and close to qualifying.
But Leona can win more world ranking points over the next 12 months and while she is in Denmark leading Ireland’s bid for a first European Ladies Amateur Team Championship title for 32 years, she plans to try and pre-qualify for the Ricoh Women’s British Open next Monday.
She also revealed before jetting out to Denmark late on Sunday that she has been handed an invitation for another women’s major, The Evian Championship, which is played in France from September 10-13.
While she trails Meadow and Walshe, Leona is already more than 300 places ahead of Ladies European Tour player Rebecca Codd, who is 661st in the Rolex Rankings.
The 60-strong field for Rio will be filled from the Olympic Golf Ranking with the International Golf Federation calculating that they will have to go down to around 250th in the world to fill the field.
A minimum 40 event divisor will be used to calculate Maguire’s points average, which will dilute any points she wins between now and qualifying deadline of 11 July 2016.
But if she continues to produce big performance, especially in majors, she may become a factor in the Olympics equation, four years earlier than scheduled, especially if she turns professional early.
As for Ireland’s European Team Championship bid, she insisted she’ll be 100 percent ready for the start of the action today.
“I’m good to go,” Leona said on Sunday night. “Resting rather than playing in the Irish Close in Rosapenna two weeks ago was obviously the best decision.
“I played well in the Vagliano Trophy at Malone last week and again this week so I feel I should be good to go.”
Women's and Girls Interprovincial Matches
Both the Women’s and Girls’ Interprovincial matches will take place at Wexford Golf Club from 7-9 July. Each women’s provincial team will consist of six players and a non-playing captain and each girls’ team shall consist of eight players and a non-playing captain.
Scoring Girls' Interpros
The Leinster ladies’ team will be looking to reclaim the title they won last year in a final day contest against Ulster. However, Ulster, Munster and Connacht are fielding past interprovincial and international players such as Louise Coffey (Malone), Jean O’Driscoll (Muskerry) and Anne McCormack (Naas) who will be vying for the title also. All four provinces are fielding strong teams, with the captains and managers relying on a mix of youth and experience.
Leinster also emerged victorious in the 2014 Girls’ Interprovincial matches. Last year was the first time they secured the title since 2003 after overcoming Ulster on the final day. The Leinster girls will be looking to replicate that form next week in Wexford but will be forced to battle talented under18 players from Ulster, Munster and Connacht alike, such as Maeve Cummins (Lurgan), Katie Aherne (Waterford Castle) and Maeve Rooney (Co. Sligo).
The Interprovincial matches have been running for over half a century and are an essential element in the development of talented and elite golfers. Each province shall play eachother by matchplay which will consist of three foursomes matches and six singles matches.
Wexford Golf Club is a beautiful 18 hole parkland course situated in the heart of Wexford town. All players will enjoy a challenging round of golf on the newly developed Jeff Howes course. There is a variety of length, aspect and difficulty on the course, with the reshaped greens providing a test of your putting skills. Admission is complimentary and spectators are most welcome.
Girls' Interprovincials, Wexford GC
Ulster v Leinster
08:00 Hannah Henderson & Maeve Cummins v Molly Dowling & Elisa Corcoran
08:10 Amy O'Donnell & Judithe Allen v Clodagh Walsh & Nicole McGavisk
08:20 Clare Calvert & Laura McCaw v Ellie Metcalfe & Ellen O'Gorman
Ulster v Leinster
- 08:30 Lisa Maguire & Louise Coffey v Mary Doyle & Ariana Coyle-Diez
- 08:40 Chloe Weir & Tara Gribben v Rachel Taylor & Maedhbh Doyle
- 08:50 Niamh Ward & Victoria Craig v Aedin Murphy & Louise Mernagh
- Girls Foursomes
Connacht v Munster
- 09:00 Maeve Rooney & Roisin Timothy v Catriona Griffin & Sara Byrne
- 09:10 Chloe O'Connor & Niamh Cronin v Katie Aherne & Nicola Rainsford
- 09:20 Lorna Mullally & Roisin O'Brien v Clodagh Jones & Grace McGrath
- Ladies Foursomes
Connacht v Munster
- 09:30 Emma Gilmore & Zoe Collins v Jean O'Driscoll & Karen O'Neill
- 09:40 Maeve Kelly & Clodagh Hopkins v Tara Whelan & Paula Walsh
- 09:50 Anne McCormack & Shannon Burke v Jenny Hennessy & Aoife Lowry
Women’s Interprovincial Teams
- Ariana Coyle Diez (Elm Park)
- Mary Doyle (The Heath)
- Meadhbh Doyle (Portarlington)
- Louise Mernagh (Elm Park)
- Aedin Murphy (Carlow)
- Rachel Taylor (Laytown & Bettystown)
- Team Captain: Ailish McCartan
- Louise Coffey (Malone)
- Victoria Craig (Royal Belfast)
- Tara Gribben (Warrenpoint)
- Lisa Maguire (Slieve Russell)
- Niamh Ward (Lurgan)
- Chloe Weir (Shandon Park)
- Team Captain: Janet Wilson
- Aoife Lowry (Tipperary)
- Jenny Hennessy (Lahinch)
- Jean O’Driscoll (Muskerry)
- Karen O’Neill (Douglas)
- Tara Whelan (East Clare)
- Paula Walsh (Doneraile)
- Team Captain: Mags Hayes
- Shannon Burke (Ballinrobe)
- Zoe Collins (Castle Royale)
- Emma Gilmore (Mountbellew)
- Clodagh Hopkins (Woodbrook)
- Maeve Kelly (Castle Dargan)
- Anne McCormack (Naas)
- Team Captain: Marie Carr
Girls’ Interprovincial Teams
- Elisa Corcoran (Grange)
- Molly Dowling (Lucan)
- Alice Hutchinson (St. Anne's)
- Nicole McGavisk (Donabate)
- Ellie Metcalfe (Laytown & Bettystown)
- Ellen O'Gorman (Milltown)
- Clodagh Walsh (Castlewarden)
- Lauren Walsh (Castlewarden)
- Team Captain: Suzie Hayes
- Team Manager: Liz Halpenny
- Judith Allen (Ballyclare)
- Clare Calvert (RCD Ladies)
- Maeve Cummins (Lurgan)
- Hannah Henderson (Ballyclare)
- Laura McCaw (Royal Belfast)
- Anna Morwood (Clandeboye)
- Amy O'Donnell (Royal Portrush)
- Becky McNeice (Malone)
- Team Captain: Kathleen Calvert
- Team Manager: Helen Jones
- Katie Aherne (Waterford Castle)
- Sarah Byrne (Douglas)
- Catriona Griffin (Killarney)
- Clodagh Jones (Roscrea)
- Ciara Leonard (Mitchelstown)
- Grace McGrath (East Cork)
- Lisa O'Shea (Shannon)
- Nicola Rainsford (
- Team Captain: Jennifer Hickey
- Team Manager: Eavan Martin
- Ailbhe Bourke (Enniscrone)
- Caoileann Bushell (Co. Longford)
- Niamh Cronin (Co. Sligo)
- Lorna Mulally (Tuam)
- Roisin O'Brien (Roscommon)
- Chloe O'Connor (Roscommon)
- Maeve Rooney (Co. Sligo)
- Roisin Timothy (Roscommon)
- Team Captain: Regina Power
- Team Manager: Rosemary O'Brien