MORE THAN A COUNTRY CONNECTION BETWEEN MAGUIRE, DEFENDING CHAMP MEADOW
The connection between Leona Maguire (County Cavan, Ireland) and IOA Championship presented by Morongo Casino Resort & Spa defending champion Stephanie Meadow (Jordanstown, Northern Ireland) runs deeper than where they are from.
In addition to their Irish heritage, Maguire and Meadow competed together in the foursomes portion of the 2012 Curtis Cup as part of the Great Britain & Ireland team.
“We played a lot of junior golf together, on Irish teams growing up and a lot of the same courses,” said Maguire following a bogey-free, 3-under par 69 performance in the second round. “I would say our games are quite similar, so it’s not exactly shocking that I’ve played well at a course she’s played well at. This isn’t necessarily a typical course you get in Ireland, maybe as lush and green as it is though.”
Maguire heads to the final round with the outright advantage at 7-under par overall. She hopes to continue her success around Morongo Golf Club at Tukwet Canyon that has led to 10 birdies over 36 holes and just three bogeys.
“I think this is a tough golf course, you have to drive the ball well because that rough is thick out there,” Maguire said. “There’s some long holes and the wind today made it a different golf course, right back into the wind made some really long.”
HEAT CHECK FOR HOLLIS WITH ROUND OF THE DAY
When the dust settled after the second round of the IOA Championship presented by Morongo Casino Resort & Spa, the round of the day belonged toJillian Hollis (Rocky River, Ohio) with a 5-under par 67.
The University of Georgia product found seven birdies in the process of climbing the leaderboard from tied for 24th to a tie for second. She did it all on her own, as well.
“I was running around this morning because I woke up to a text that I didn’t have a caddy today,” Hollis said laughingly. “I was asking the pro shop, almost had my friend caddy then my aunt wanted to. Just went out there, me and my bag. Struggled a little on the front nine with some three-putts, but made them on the back.”
TOURNAMENT COMPETITION, OLYMPICS DRIVING BECK
A tied for 33rd result at LPGA Q-Series last November earned Laetitia Beck(Caesarea, Israel) status on the big stage for 2019, but her first start on the LPGA Tour this season won’t be until the LOTTE Championship from April 17-20.
“A little frustrating, I don’t think anybody expected this to happen at the beginning of the year,” said Beck, who carded a 1-under par 71 today in Beaumont. “It is hard scheduling where I am going to be. Less about where I am playing because for me, playing on the Symetra Tour or LPGA Tour is still a tournament and being competitive.”
That spirit is what fuels Beck, no matter what Tour or course she is on. Being only one shot off the lead in the IOA Championship presented by Morongo Casino Resort & Spakeeps the Duke University alumna driving on. Another factor is her desire to once again represent her native country at the Olympics.
“The goal for me is to play well on the LPGA and have strong finishes there,” said Beck, a 2015 rookie on the LPGA Tour. “I don’t know if I’m going to give up playing tournaments there if I start playing well here. At the same time, I have the Olympics to think about. I’m happy to play somewhere and give myself chances to win.”
Leona Maguire (-7, 1st) on the difference from her rookie year:
“This year I have a little bit more time, can plan out my schedule. Last year was such a quick turnaround between graduating to finishing up with Nationals then going straight to playing tournaments. It was all quick and kind of chasing myself all year, didn’t really get a chance for a proper break. This year it should work out nicely. I’ve had more patience, was maybe a little impatient coming out of the blocks halfway through last season because I knew I had a lot of ground to catch up. It’s nice to be starting this year on an even platform with everybody else.”
Jillian Hollis (-6, T2) on being one shot back of lead heading into final round:
“I’ve put myself in this position a couple of times so far this year. Definitely been here before and hopefully I can have a good round tomorrow, putts fall, make a lot of birdies. Might need a caddy, but I’ll probably just carry my bag again. Just me and my bag.”
Katja Pogacar (-5, 5th) on making her first Symetra Tour start as a professional:
“I played on the Ladies European Tour and finished second in Australia [at the ActewAGL Canberra Classic] earlier this month. My game is there and I’m just getting used to the new environment. I’ve been in the United States for years studying, so it is nothing new for me and I know so many people out here. Honestly, just the Symetra Tour personnel is the new part and how everything works, but otherwise golf is the same.”
- 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