It was a final round that Leona Maguire will never forget, and one her 12-year-old self would be greatly impressed by.
The second-year LPGA Tour rookie matched the major championship scoring record (male or female) of 10-under 61 in the final round of the Amundi Evian Championship on Sunday, a performance that transported Maguire back to 2007, when she competed in the inaugural Evian Juniors Cup. That was her first trip to Evian Resort Golf Club. This week’s appearance was her first as a professional.
“I was here for the junior event when Natalie [Gulbis] won. I think if 12-year-old me saw a 61 up there, I would be pretty happy,” Maguire said after recording 10 birdies. “It was the same year as like [Jordan] Spieth and all them played [with the famous picture of he and Justin Thomas]. Natalie won the big one. I still have a picture with her from that [Amundi Evian Championship win].”
Maguire started hot out of the gates with birdies at Nos. 1, 2 and 3, and never looked back.
“When we were in the middle of the rain delay this morning before I teed off, I thought today was going to be quite a tough day,” said Maguire, who bested her previous career-low score of 64, set at the Meijer LPGA Classic for Simply Give in June, by three strokes. “We saw Lee6 do it the other day and you know it is possible, but everything kind of has to go your way. Birdie on the first and then holed a really nice putt on the second. Just kind of snowballed from there, really.”
At 13-under overall, Maguire secures her first career top-10 finish in a major championship.
“Been consistent, giving myself opportunities and my irons have been good,” said Maguire. “It really boils down then to how I putt. There wasn’t a whole lot of difference between the 61 and 71 yesterday. I came off the course yesterday feeling like I played great but didn’t hole any putts, and today they went in. It’s fine margins, as is golf.
“I feel like I play smart and pick my spots. You have to do that around [major championship] golf courses like this. Me and my coach [Shane O’Grady] did some very specific practice for this week, shaping shots and holding them off slopes. I think that was key.”
BY THE BIRDIE WITH LEONA MAGUIRE
Leona Maguire walked through all 10 birdies from her historic final-round 61, starting on No. 1 at Evian Resort Golf Club. The performance matches the major championship 18-hole scoring record, male or female.
No. 1 (par 4, 398 yards) – “I was in the right fairway bunker [off the tee] and hit a 7-iron to 5feet. We didn’t even take the yardage because I was just trying to get on the front of the green. About 160 front.”
No. 2 (par 3, 159 yards) – “Today, I was 130 [to the pin] and hit a 9-iron to about 40 feet. Holed that putt down the slope.”
No. 3 (par 4, 367 yards) – “Third hole was 127 in. Hit a 9-iron to about 6 feet behind the pin. Thought it nearly went in.”
No. 7 (par 5, 556 yards) – “Seven was 124 and I hit just a little 9-iron to about a foot.”
No. 8 (par 3, 187 yards) – “Eight was 180 out and hit a 5-hybrid. Sorry, 184 out. Used a slope on the right to about 15 feet and holed that putt.”
No. 10 (par 4, 407 yards) – “No. 10 was 134 [from the pin]. Hit an 8-iron to about 6, 7feet just past it and holed that putt as well.”
No. 15 (par 5, 502 yards) – “Hit 3-wood onto the green from 240 to about 15 feet and two-putted from there.”
No. 16 (par 3, 143 yards) – “Was 142 out, hit a little 8-iron. Nearly went in actually. To about a foot.”
No. 17 (par 4, 310 yards) – “No. 17 was 133. Hit a little sawed off 8-iron to about, again 7or 8feet. Holed that putt.”
No. 18 (par 5, 455 yards) – “Then on No. 18, I had 209 and I hit a 6-wood. Just missed the back stop and it went up just on top and two-putted from there.”