Slieve Russell’s Leona Maguire has won the Mark H. McCormack Medal for the second consecutive year as the leading women’s player in the 2016 World Amateur Golf Ranking.
It's an incredible achievement for the 21-year old Co Cavan native, who will compete for Ireland in the Rio 2016 Olympic Games this week.
Speaking from Brazil, she said she was delighted to win the prestigious medal once again.
“It is a huge honor for me to win the Mark H. McCormack medal again this year,” said Maguire. “I am incredibly grateful to my family, my coach, Shane O Grady, the Irish Ladies Golf Union and the Confederation of Golf in Ireland, and everyone at Duke University. Without their support and help, this would not be possible.
“This year has been great for me so far and winning the McCormack Medal makes it even more special. I am so excited to play and represent my country in the Olympics this week and earning the medal gives me extra confidence, given how strong amateur golf is right now, as I prepare for the event.”
Maguire played a significant role in Great Britain & Ireland’s Curtis Cup win against the USA in June, contributing four points to the 11½-8½ victory. It was her third appearance on the GB&I team.
Last month, she won the Smyth Salver after finishing as the leading amateur in the Ricoh Women's British Open at Woburn – she tied for 25th place – and also played in the U.S. Women’s Open at CordeValle.
During the 2015-16 season, Maguire earned a number of individual honours, including Irish Independent Young Sportstar of the Year and Irish Golf Writers' Women's Amateur of the Year in 2015.
As a sophomore at Duke in 2015-16, the 21-year-old won the Ruth’s Chris Tar Heel Invite, a year after winning three times in her first season, including the ACC Championship and medallist honours at the NCAA South Bend Regional.
Maguire, in just two seasons at Duke, ranks in the top 10 in school history in wins, even or under-par rounds, tournaments as Duke’s top scorer and rounds in the 60s.
For the second year in a row, she was selected for the Women's Golf Coaches Association (WGCA) All-Region squads, the Women's Golf Coaches Association (WGCA) All-America first team and the 2015-16 Women’s Golf Coaches Association (WGCA) All-American Scholars Team, which recognises academic as well as athletic excellence.
Following the Olympic Games, Maguire will take part in Qualifying School for the LPGA Tour. As long as she remains an amateur, she will receive an exemption into the 2017 U.S. Women’s Open Championship and the Ricoh Women’s British Open.
The R&A and United States Golf Association (USGA) award recognizes Maguire’s outstanding performances this year and is named after Mark H. McCormack, who founded sports marketing company IMG and was a great supporter of amateur golf.
Johnnie Cole-Hamilton, executive director – championships for The R&A, said: “For Leona to win the Mark H. McCormack Medal for a second year running is an outstanding achievement and I would like to congratulate her on another tremendous season.
"To consistently deliver excellent results over two years requires real dedication and commitment. She is a hugely talented golfer who is a worthy winner of the award.”
John Bodenhamer, senior managing director, Championships & Governance for the USGA, said: “The USGA salutes Leona Maguire for winning the McCormack Medal for the second consecutive year, which puts her in nearly the same company as Lydia Ko, who won in 2011, 2012 and 2013.
”It certainly illustrates the high calibre of her play over an extended period of time, at the NCAA or Curtis Cup levels and even in professional events. Clearly, she has earned her distinction.”
The World Amateur Golf Ranking, which is supported by Rolex, was established in 2007 when the men’s ranking was launched. The men’s ranking encompasses more than 2,300 counting events, ranking more than 6,500 players from 101 countries.
"The women’s ranking was launched in 2011 and has a calendar of more than 1,320 counting events with more than 3,190 ranked players from 72 countries.
The World Amateur Golf Ranking™, which comprises a women’s ranking and a men’s ranking for elite amateur players, is offered by The R&A and the United States Golf Association as a global service to golf. Through incorporation and assessment worldwide of both amateur and professional events, the WAGR encourages the international development of the competitive game. The ranking endeavours to be the most comprehensive and accurate ranking in golf by effectively comparing players from around the world who may never directly compete against one another. It is available to national federations and organizers of amateur and professional events and tours as a criterion for tournament field selection and for purposes of exemptions, national team selection, and orders of merit.
The Mark H. McCormack Medal
The award is named after Mark H McCormack, the late founder of sports marketing company IMG and an avid supporter of amateur golf. The women’s Mark H. McCormack Medal is awarded to the player ranked number one in the World Amateur Golf Ranking after the U.S. Women’s Amateur Championship or the European Ladies’ Amateur Championship, whichever concludes later. Established in 2007, the same award goes to the player leading the men’s ranking after the European Amateur Championship or U.S. Amateur Championship, whichever concludes later.
Men’s: 2015 Jon Rahm-Rodriguez (ESP); 2014 Oliver Schniederjans (USA); 2013 Matthew Fitzpatrick (ENG); 2012 Chris Williams (USA); 2011 Patrick Cantlay (USA); 2010 Peter Uihlein (USA); 2009 Nick Taylor (CAN); 2008 Danny Lee (NZL); 2007 Colt Knost (USA).
Women’s: 2015 Leona Maguire (IRL); 2014 Minjee Lee (AUS); 2013, 2012, 2011 Lydia Ko (NZL).