16th April 2009 - Fourteen-year-old Leona Maguire from Ireland won the French International Lady Juniors U-21 Amateur Championship at St Cloud Golf Club on Monday.
The Cavan youngster now leads the European PING Junior Solheim Cup ranking and is a virtual shoe-in for the team event to be played at Aurora Country Club, Aurora, Illinois, USA, from August 18-19.
Leona defeated Klara Spilkova from the Czech Republic at the 36th hole in the final and was equal fourth in the stroke play event.
"I played really well in both the stroke play and the match play. The final match against Klara was really tight. I made four birdies in a row and I love to play match play and on the final and 36th hole I won," she said.
"My twin sister Lisa and I practise together and we help each other to develop and to raise our game. I am only 14 years old but my goal is to qualify for the PING Junior Solheim Cup and to play against great junior golfers: that way my game will raise even more."
Leona's identical twin sister Lisa tied for fourth with Leona in the stroke play but lost to Germany's Sophia Popov in the match play. There is now a possibility that both twins could play at this year's prestigious junior biennial transatlantic team match play event.
With The 2011 Solheim Cup at Killeen Castle, there is also an increased chance that the twins will represent Europe at the 2011 PING Junior Solheim Cup on home soil in Ireland.
The French International title was the second of four qualifying events for the European PING Junior Solheim Cup team. The next qualifying events are the European Ladies' Team Championship in Slovenia and the European Girls' Team Championship in Finland, which both take place from July 7-11. The leading six players on the points table on July 13 will qualify for the team automatically while six players will receive a wild card from the European Captain Carin Koch of Sweden.
Leona currently leads the ranking over Klara Spilkova from the Czech Republic, followed by Spaniard Ana Fernandez de Mesa, France's Rosanna Crepiat, Germany's Sophia Popov and Emma Nilsson of Sweden. Lisa currently sits in ninth place.
To qualify for the European PING Junior Solheim Cup Team, players must be European citizens born no later than 1991 and amateurs who are not members of a collegiate golf programme. To follow the progress of the Maguire twins and their rivals at the final two events, log on to the LET website: www.ladieseuropeantour.com.
PING Junior Solheim Cup - European Ranking as of 14th April 2009
1. Leona Maguire, Ireland - 125 points
2. Klara Spilkova, Czech Republic - 68.33 points
3. Ana Fernandez de Mesa, Spain - 67.50 points
4. Rosanna Crepiat, France - 50.00
5. Sophia Popov, Germany - 41.67 points
6. Emma Nilsson, Sweden - 40.00 points
7. Johanna Tillström, Sweden - 38.33 points
8. Emilie Alonso, France - 31.67 points
9. Lisa Maguire, Ireland - 25.00
10. Daisy Nielsen, Denmark - 20.00
11. Mandy Goyos Ball, Spain - 10 points
12. Elia Folch, Spain - 8.33 points