"I gave it my all" - Leona Maguire focuses on positives after playoff drama 1 month ago

"I gave it my all" - Leona Maguire focuses on positives after playoff drama

"There may not be a better game-face in golf that Leona Maguire!"

Standing on the 18th tee, with US Solheim Cup stars Nelly Korda and Jennifer Kupcho looking on, Leona Maguire looked ready to stripe a drive down the first fairway in a sudden death playoff.

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It had been an incredible charge from the Cavan native, as she came from seven shots back to get into a playoff with Kupcho and former world number one, Korda at the Meijer LPGA Classic.

Starting her final round on -11, after solid rounds of 69, 69 and 68, Maguire knew she would need to go low if she were to have any chance of claiming her second LPGA Tour event of the season, and her career. So it wonderfully transpired as she reeled off eight birdies in a -7 closing round of 65.

With Korda carding a level par 72 to finish on -18, it was left to Kupcho to par the final hole to make it a three-way playoff. On that first hole, Maguire and Kupcho birdied and Korda could not match it, meaning she was out.

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Leona Maguire lips out on playoff hole

On the second playoff hole, Jennifer Kupcho had the advantage off the tee, but Leona Maguire hit a great approach from the rough to give herself a long eagle putt.

Kupcho responded with a nice approach of her own, which got a fortunate kick on the fringe and left her with a long look at eagle, too.

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Maguire went first and her ball flirted with dropping before sliding three feet by. Kupcho went close before quickly walking her putt in and tapping it home for birdie.

Maguire had a simple putt to force the playoff on to another hole, but she lipped out and Kupcho got the win, plaudits and a short hug from her devastated opponent.

Credit: LPGA (via YouTube)
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'I thought she was going to make it' - Jennifer Kupcho

That Meijer LPGA Classic victory was sweet relief for Kupcho who, herself, had missed a short birdie putt on that first playoff hole.

The American gets another career tour title, a winners' cheque of $375,000 and could rise into the world top 10 when the rankings get updated, later today. Having admitted to 'a lot of nerves and a lot of shaking' on her own missed playoff putt, Kupcho had empathy for Leona Maguire.

"I thought she was going to make it," she said. "When Leona hit [her eagle putt] by the hole and I still had to putt from the fringe, I thought to myself, that's not a gimme because I was just shaking and missed essentially a same-length putt.

"But then once I made the tap-in, I mean, I was already looking it the rules official to go to the next hole, which was No. 4. I thought she was in."

With the miss, Maguire had to settle for a share of second with Korda and the pair would split the prize fund for that and third place, amounting to just over $250k. Maguire could also climb into the top 20 of the world, while Korda will consolidate her second place behind Kin Young Ko.

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Major challenge awaits Leona Maguire

While she did not give any broadcast interviews after her playoff disappointment, Leona Maguire stated on social media how she had given the tournament her all, and was looking forward to the next challenge.

That challenge is at the Women's PGA Championship, later this week.

Known on the LPGA Tour as one of its' five majors, Maguire's game is solid as she heads into another event against the very best of women's golf.