World beater Leona Maguire claims ninth career win for Duke
Leona Maguire with the Tar Heel Invitational trophy

Leona Maguire with the Tar Heel Invitational trophy

Duke's Leona Maguire closed with a three-under 69 to clinch the ninth victory of her collegiate career and her second this season at the Tar Heel Invitational in North Carolina.

The 22-year-old Co Cavan star and world amateur No 1, shot a 66 on Saturday to take a two-stroke lead over Spain and South Carolina's Ainhoa Olarra (67) into the final round at the University of North Carolina's Finley Golf Course in Chapel Hill.

Olarra birdied the second and fifth to draw level with Maguire on nine-under par. But while she would go on to birdie the 15th and 17th for an immaculate 68 and an 11-under par total, the Irish star had a little too much firepower.

After starting with a bogey at the second and a birdie at the par-five third, Leona birdie the 10th, 11th and 14th to move to 12-under par, then followed a bogey at the 15th with a birdie at the 16th before hitting a greenside bunker shot to a few inches to save par at the 18th.

Leona Maguire

Leona Maguire

Her 69 set the clubhouse target and she was not to be denied and claimed a one-stroke victory from Olarra on 12-under 204.

“I'm really proud of both the team and my individual performance this week,” Leona told “We played some true Duke golf this weekend against a very high quality field.

“Everyone really dug deep coming down the stretch to hold off Alabama and it gives us great confidence leading into our final event of the fall.” 

Duke had a ten-stroke lead in the team event but trailed at one stage on the final day before eventually claiming the win by a single stroke from Alabama.

While Duke shot nine-under on the final day, Alabama blasted an 18-under par tally to set up an exciting finish.

Ruth's Chris Tar Heel Invitational, UNC Finley Golf Course (Par 72, 6379 Yards, Chapel Hill, NC)

1 Leona Maguire (Duke)  69 66 69 204
2 Ainhoa Olarra (South Carolina) 70 67 68 205
T3 Ava Bergner (North Carolina)  70 70 66 206
T3 Emilia Migliaccio (Wake Forest)69 70 67 206
T3 Lauren Stephenson (Alabama)  72 68 66 206
T6 Kristen Gillman (Alabama) 71 69 67 207
T6 Anna Redding (Virginia) 70 68 69 207
T6 Jennifer Kupcho (Wake Forest ) 66 73 68 207
9 Virginia Elena Carta (Duke)  71 68 69 208
10 Molly Skapik (Louisville) 66 73 70 209.