Courtesy Duke University Athletics
DURHAM, N.C. – The top-ranked amateur golfer in the world, Duke's Leona Maguire, has withdrawn from stage III of LPGA Q-School and will remain with the Blue Devil program to complete her collegiate eligibility. A junior, Maguire is on schedule to graduate from Duke in May, 2018.
“Upon considerable deliberation, I have decided to withdraw from stage III of LPGA Q-School and not pursue LPGA membership for 2017,” said Maguire. “This is not a decision that I have taken lightly but one that I feel is best for me in the pursuit of my long-term aspirations. I am thankful for the continuous support of my parents, friends, teammates, coach Shane O Grady, ILGU and everyone at Duke and for their guidance in helping me to reach my decision.”
Maguire is coming off a very impressive summer as she tied for 21st at the Olympics in Rio for her home country of Ireland with rounds of 74, 65, 74 and 69 for a two-under-par, 282, which was tied for the low amateur. She also finished as the low amateur at the RICOH Women’s British Open in England and tied 25th overall. Maguire advanced to the quarterfinals of match play at the Ladies’ British Open Amateur Championship and also led her Great Britain & Ireland squad to an 11 1Ž2 to 8 1Ž2 victory over the United States in the Curtis Cup.
“I am fortunate to have had some incredible experiences this past summer competing at the Olympics and in the British and U.S. Opens that reinforced my desire to play professional golf,” said Maguire. “My dream is and always has been to compete alongside the world’s best on the LPGA and this remains resolutely unchanged. It is my intention to turn professional after graduation in May 2018 and I look forward to enjoying many more unforgettable experiences representing Duke, Ireland and myself as an amateur golfer until then.
In her two and a half years at Duke, Maguire has collected an impressive resume. The 2014-15 National Player of the Year, she is a two-time First Team WGCA All-America, 2015 ACC Player of the Year, two-time All-ACC and was awarded the Mark H. McCormack Medal as the leading women’s golfer in the 2015 and 2016 World Amateur Golf Ranking.
“Being a student-athlete at a distinguished institution such as Duke is a once in a lifetime opportunity and not something I am willing to forgo,” commented Maguire. “Not only do I get to obtain a world-class degree, but I can utilize some of finest golf and athletic facilities in the country here at Duke. I have greatly developed as both a player and person since starting at Duke and am confident that another year and a half of playing collegiate golf will further aid me in all aspects of my preparation in becoming a professional golfer. I pride myself in putting 100% commitment and effort into everything I do and it is important for me to honor my commitments to my team and Duke, while still pushing myself to become the best golfer I can be. Being part of the Duke Blue Devil family is both an honor and privilege and I am excited to that I will get to graduate with my teammates and classmates in 2018.”
Maguire has competed in 23 tournaments as a Blue Devil and totaled a 71.25 stroke average to go along with 14 top five finishes, 19 top 10 and 21 top 20 placements. She owns four victories and is currently ranked No. 2 in the Golfweek Individual rankings through the fall campaign. As a team, Duke is coming off taking home the East Lake Cup title in the final tournament of the fall.
“Leona has made an excellent life decision --the full, positive impact of which will grow and blossom over time, during and well beyond competitive golf,” said Duke head coach Dan Brooks.
In October, Maguire competed in stage II of LPGA Q-School in October and posted rounds of 72, 67, 74 and 72 for a four-day ledger of three-under-par, to finish tied sixth overall and advance on to stage III. She was set to head to Florida for the qualifying school before reaching her decision.
Maguire is majoring in psychology along with obtaining a markets and management certificate. She was a WGCA All-America Scholar as a sophomore and is a two-time All-ACC Academic Team selection, while recording a 3.925 grade-point average.
The Duke women’s golf program will resume the 2016-17 campaign Feb. 12-14 at the Northrop Grumman Challenge in Palos Verdes, Calif.