"It's such an honour to play with her" - English star blown away by Leona Maguire 1 week ago

"It's such an honour to play with her" - English star blown away by Leona Maguire

"I was just waiting for Mel to hit that clutch shot on 18."

Leona Maguire has enjoyed a spectacular start to her Solheim Cup career, and a win in Monday's Singles would set a rookie record for the Cavan star.

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Maguire has won 3.5 points - winning three matches and halving the other - to inspire Team Europe to a 9-7 lead over USA after the opening foursomes and fourballs.

The 26-year-old teamed up with England's Mel Reid in three of her four matches and they won 2.5 out of a possible 3 points. After beating world No.1 Nelly Korda and Ally Ewing in the morning session, Europe captain Caitriona Matthew asked the pair to go out again in the penultimate afternoon match-up.

Reid was already in awe of her young teammate. On Friday, after she defeated the Korda sisters with Maguire, she proclaimed:

"Honestly I could not be more impressed with this girl here. I said to her, we hadn't really spoken before this week, that's kind of what Solheim is about. I said, Listen, if you start booking practice rounds with me after this I've done my job. She says, Maybe, maybe not.

"This girl honestly, she's some player, and just really, really proud of the way she handled herself and she's a very, very impressive girl, so it was an honour, honestly, to play with her in the first match."

On Sunday, after Korda and Ewing had been beaten, Reid once again expressed her glee at playing with Maguire. "It's such an honour to play with her," she told NBC.

With Team USA clawing back a bit of Europe's Day One lead in that morning session, Maguire and Reid knew there was a lot of pressure on them to produce. Maguire was the star performer, for Europe, in this encounter and set a cracking tone with this early approach for birdie:

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The Europeans were facing Lizette Salas and Jennifer Kupcho, who had impressed in their morning foursomes win over Anna Nordqvist and Matilda Castren. This was one hell of a fourballs clash.

Maguire's early birdie had Europe 1-Up but that lead was scrubbed by the fourth. Team USA nudged ahead on the sixth but Maguire levelled it up by the turn. On 10 and 11, though, Kupcho won her team two straight holes.

A Reid birdie on 12 reduced the American's lead to 1-Up. From then until the 18th, it was Maguire with a series of clutch putts holding off the US tide:

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Maguire's putt on 16 made it All Square and it looked like advantage Europe, on 17, when Reid was the only player to find the green with her second shot. Kupcho stole the hole in style, though, with a chip-in birdie.

Europe would have still led by a shot going into the final day, but a brave Reid approach on 18 was rewarded with a kind bounce and the match was halved when she tapped in for birdie. Speaking after the match, Maguire told NBC:

"We tried to ride the wave from [our win] this morning... we knew it was going to be a different sort of match and that the girls would be relentless. We knew we had to hang in there... And yeah, just waiting for Mel to hit that clutch shot on 18.

"Leona, again, played great. Putted well and kept us in the match... Leona has been holing putts to win holes all day, so I thought I better get in there with something at the end."

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Between them, Reid and Maguire have one LPGA Tour win, but they are playing like world-beaters in Toledo.

Maguire would become the most successful Solheim Cup rookie, on Monday, if she wins her Singles match. She would most likely give that accolade up if it meant her team got a win. The way she is playing right now, she could well get both.


 

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