"To see people excited about women's golf and Irish golf is fantastic" - Leona Maguire
"There will be plenty of Guinness drank in Ireland tonight!"
Given that the Allianz Leagues were humming, Ireland had beaten Wales in the Six Nations and Leona Maguire was on her way to a maiden Ladies Professional Golf Association victory, the American commentator was not far off.
At the age of 27, and in just her second tour event of 2022, the Cavan native landed her first ever LPGA title. She was up against some of the world's very best, including some of her Solheim Cup teammates and the Americans that she stunned at that team event, last year.
With American duo Sarah Schmelzel and Lexi Thompson carding respective final rounds of 64 (-8) and 65 (-7), Maguire needed to find her best down the back nine to win out. She surely did, carding four birdies and affording herself the luxury of bogeying the 18th and still winning by three strokes.
— LPGA (@LPGA) February 6, 2022
Leona Maguire gets the winning feeling
"It's the first for Ireland, and a first for Leona Maguire," the commentary rang out as the final putt sank. It was indeed the first win for an Irishwoman on the prestigious LPGA Tour. It should be enough to vault Maguire to around 37th in the world, too.
Asked, following her win, about being 'an Irish history-maker', the Ballyconnell golfer had a great response. She told reporters:
"Yeah, I mean obviously it's a fortunate position to be in. I suppose it was more than likely going to be me or Stephanie. We played together on Tuesday. Played a birdie game on Tuesday and she beat me. I gave her $20 on Tuesday night!
"I didn't think I would be sitting here on Sunday. She obviously had a hole-in-one during the week, so might have to get a few more games throughout the year.
"The support from home has been incredible. They've been rallying behind me, and that's something that I'll be truly grateful. Always it's an honor to represent Ireland no matter where you go. To see people excited about women's golf and Irish golf is fantastic. Yeah, hopefully Seamus [Power] can do the double tomorrow [at the AT&T Pro-Am]."
Maguire even went as far to send Séamus Power a 'good luck' message before he went out, at Pebble Beach, to do final round battle with the likes of Jordan Spieth, Patrick Cantlay, Troy Merritt and Jason Day.
"I got my trophy. Go get yours!"
— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) February 6, 2022
No gold BMWs this time around
Following her Solheim Cup heroics - winning 4.5 points for a victorious European side - Leona Maguire was given a hero's welcome back in Ireland. That included riding around in a convertible, gold BMW.
Asked by one reporter how she planned on topping that, a smiling Maguire replied:
"I have no idea! I guess there is a week before I go home so be a little bit of a time to plan. I don't think the weather in Ireland is quite right for riding around in a convertible as it was in September.
"I'm sure we'll figure something out. These wins don't happen very often. It's incredibly hard to win out here. These girls are so good. We'll definitely enjoy this win while it's here."
Maguire acknowledged it was her mother's birthday today [Sunday] and reflected on how 2022 was already a level up on an unforgettable 2021.
"Last year was a great season but there was no win, so almost felt like it had as asterisk.
"I knew I wasn't far away. I suppose relying on -- I've always kept my circle small, and that's been it from day one. Mom, dad, Shane, Lisa, my physio, nutritionists, the staff at the Institute of Sport back home."
It takes a village to raise an LPGA Tour winner, and an Irish history maker.