Entering Sunday's final round of the Meijer LPGA Classic, Leona Maguire found herself in a familiar position.
In her last two starts at the Meijer LPGA, Leona suffered two tough runner-up finishes. Standing on the first tee Sunday trailing by two, the opportunity to claim what felt an elusive victory was at hand, and Leona seized the moment in dazzling fashion.
Powered by an incredible final round -8 (64), Leona pulled away from pack on Sunday to win the 2023 Meijer LPGA Classic at -21 overall. The victory is the second of her LPGA Tour career. In looking at the KPMG Performance Insights report from Leona's victory...
"I feel like I've taken different things from both years," Leona said of her experience at the Meijer LPGA Classic. "I've been playing some really good golf coming into this week and I tried to be patient. It was nice to go bogey-free on Sunday. My goal today was to go 20-under, and it was nice to go one better than that."
Leona was steady on the front nine on Sunday, making the turn at two-under for the round but still trailing a group of leaders a couple shots ahead, but down the stretch, she turned on the jets. Leona carded an eagle and four birdies over the final six holes, a six-under charge that ultimately led to a two-shot victory over Ariya Jutanugarn. This win was a long time coming for Leona, who has knocked on the door of victory several times since her first win at the 2022 LPGA Drive On Championship.
"I felt like I played some really good golf last year," Leona said. "I was in a playoff here (Meijer), second at CME. You have to play really good golf to win out here. It's tough, and it's a really nice feeling to get this one, especially with the majors we have coming up."
"The majors we have coming up" that Leona referenced start next week at the KPMG Women's PGA Championship at storied Baltusrol Golf Club, where Leona will look to secure her first career major championship. If her recent form is any indication of what's to come, it could be yet another exciting week on one of the game's biggest stages.
"I feel like my game has been in really good shape," Leona said. "I had my coach over last week to fine tune a few things. I'll try to do more of the same, stay patient, and keep giving myself as many chances as I can."
Entering Saturday’s final round of the LPGA Drive On Championship, never in the LPGA Tour’s 71-year history had an Irishwoman claimed victory. Now, the history book tells a different story.
Congratulations Leona and good luck next week at Baltusrol!