Leona Maguire birdied the first playoff to defeat Thailand’s Pajaree Anannarukarn and snatch her first professional victory in the inaugural Windsor Golf Classic in California.
After a marathon 10-week road trip that took her from Dubai to Australia and then back to Florida to begin her Symetra Tour campaign, the 24-year old Slieve Russell fired a bogey-free, seven-under par 65 to top the leaderboard
After a short wait, she was joined at the top by overnight leader Anannarukarn’s, who birdied the par-five 18th to force sudden-death at Windsor Golf Club, 60 miles north of San Francisco.
On their return to the par-five 18th, it was the former world amateur number one Leona who held firm in the playoff, clinching the title with a birdie four to Anannarukarn’s bogey-six,
As a result, she takes a giant step towards winning her LPGA Tour card via the Symetra Tour’s money list after just 21 regular starts since she turned professional and finished tied 15th in the Shoprite LPGA Classic in New Jersey just 10 months ago.
The top 10 at the of the season in the Volvik Race for the Card will avoid the Q-Series and earn instant promotion and Leona is now in pole position after banking $22,500 in the race for ten cards.
She began the final day of the weather-delayed event tied for fourth on five-under par and three strokes adrift of Anannarukarn, who led by one stroke from Spain’s Marta Sanchez Barrio on eight-under.
“Trying to have one really good last day tomorrow and looking forward to two weeks off,” Leona said prophetically after a second round 69.
On Sunday, she caught fire, as the Symetra Tour reported:
“I’ve been so close for the past few weeks and started off really well today, tried to keep my foot down,” said Maguire, who was the IOA Championship 36-hole leader and finished tied for fourth. “I suppose being so close last week gave me a little bit of extra motivation and it tastes a little sweeter today.”
Maguire battled Windsor Golf Club this afternoon, firing a bogey-free, 7-under par 65 in the final round highlighted by a stretch of four straight birdies from holes four through seven. After making her Symetra Tour debut at the 2018 Forsyth Classic presented by Decatur Park District, Maguire becomes a champion in just her 17th “Road to the LPGA” start.
“I knew the way the course was setup today, the greens a bit softer and I left a lot of chances out there yesterday,” said Maguire, who trailed by three shots entering the final round. “Chipped in on the first for birdie which kickstarted by round, then holed a few nice putts to keep the momentum going. The way the greens and pins were I knew I had to go low to catch Pajaree, everyone was going to make birdies.”
VOLVIK RACE FOR THE CARD STANDINGS AFTER WEEK THREE
Following the fourth tournament of the 2019 Symetra Tour season, the Volvik Race for the Card welcomes a fresh top-10.
The victory and $22,500 winner’s check move Leona Maguire from No. 7 to No. 1, having earned $36,510 through the first four events. Here is a look at the current top-10 heading into the fifth annual Murphy USA El Dorado Shootout at Mystic Creek Golf Club in El Dorado, Ark. from April 26-28:
1. Leona Maguire - $36,510
2. Julieta Granada (Asuncion, Paraguay) - $33,737
3. Jillian Hollis (Rocky River, Ohio) - $28,436
4. Lauren Coughlin (Charlottesville, Virginia) - $23,000
5. Demi Runas (Torrance, California) - $19,835
6. Kelly Tan (Batu Pahat, Malaysia)- $18,750
7. Kyung Kim (Chandler, Arizona) - $16,265
8. Karen Chung (Livingston, New Jersey) - $15,976
9. Pajaree Anannarukarn - $15,042
10. Jean Reynolds (Newnan, Georgia) - $12,778
Leona Maguire (-12, 1st) on how the win came to fruition and what it means:“I’ve been a bit more patient this year. I think I was too eager to try and rush things too quick last year, trying to play catch-up too much, didn’t give myself enough rest. This year has been nice, working my way into the season with some really good finishes and trying to get better every week. I knew I would get there eventually, took a little longer than I would have liked but it’s a great feeling.”
Pajaree Anannarukarn (-12, 2nd) on her performance and being in the sudden-death playoff:“I’m really proud of how I finished the round today, it was very exciting. I knew I had to make the birdie on the last hole and I’m happy I made the putt. To force the playoff, I’m really glad I did it.”
Casey Danielson (-11, 3rd) on competing in the penultimate grouping with Maguire on Sunday:“We were just having a lot of fun out there and both playing really good golf. I didn’t even realize until it got down the stretch that we were up there, competing neck and neck. We would birdie back and forth, it was fun and great playing with her. She is fun to watch.”
Maguire, 24, is from County Cavan, Ireland and had one of the most storied collegiate careers in NCAA history while at Duke University
Owns the all-time record for most weeks (135) at No. 1 in the Women’s World Amateur Golf Ranking (WAGR)
87 rounds of even or under par and 32 rounds in the 60s are the most in NCAA history, while her 70.97 stroke average is the lowest in NCAA history
Four-time Women’s Golf Coaches Association (WGCA) First Team All-American, four-time All-ACC selection, three-time ACC Player of the Year, two-time WGCA and ANNIKA National Player of the Year, and two-time runner-up at the NCAA Division I Women’s Golf Championship (2015, 2017)
Became only the second player to win the ACC Championship individual title three times, joining fellow Duke alumna Amanda Blumenherst
Four-time Vagliano Trophy and three-time Curtis Cup team member representing Great Britain & Ireland, including 2012 and 2016 Curtis Cup champions
Competed in the 2016 Summer Olympic Games with a result of T21, tied for the low amateur
2017 Ladies’ British Open Amateur winner and Global Golf Post Female Amateur of the Year
Made professional debut at the 2018 ShopRite LPGA Classic finishing T15 and Symetra Tour debut at the 2018 Forsyth Classic with a tied for third result.