MIDLAND, MICHIGAN | You can’t argue with their record. In Toledo at the 2021 Solheim Cup, European veteran Mel Reid took rookie Leona Maguire under her wing and went undefeated in three matches. Maguire would then win a fourth match with Georgia Hall as a partner and defeat Jennifer Kupcho in singles to finish the week as the hero of Captain Catriona Matthew’s team. But at the time, no one knew how the demonstrative Reid and the quiet-but-intense Maguire would gel. Fire and Ice. They were not a pairing you would look at and say, ‘Oh, yeah, that’s perfect.’
But their bond proved to be more than seamless. In the most intense atmosphere in women’s golf, the Reid-Maguire duo turned out to be enchanting.
Now, they hope to rekindle some of that magic at the Dow Great Lakes Bay Invitational while having a rousing good time in one of the most enjoyable events of the season. They’re already ribbing each other in a way that suggests this is going to be fun to watch.
When asked about a team name, Reid said, “We've come up with a couple. I think just Best Friends because obviously that's clearly what we are.” The wry smile from Maguire gave away the joke. Then Reid said, “Leona has left it up to me,” to which Maguire piped in, “Executive decision.”
Reid played well in the Dow GLBI a year ago with another close friend, Carlota Ciganda. But Ciganda, who won last week on the LET in her native Spain, chose to stay in Europe before the Amundi Evian Championship. That left Reid searching for another partner.
“I was having to find my second pick,” she said, another needle at Maguire who could not contain her smile.
“We did so well at Solheim and she's somebody I really enjoy playing with. Obviously, she's a great player, so I was the one that initiated it,” Reid continued. “I was the one that started the relationship. I put my heart out there first, and she took about a week to reply. I was like, ‘Cool, just blank me for a bit,’ and then (she) finally said yes.
“I'm excited for the week. Leona is playing great. It's a fun week anyway. It's a really good tournament.”
Maguire has, indeed, been playing great. Since her breakout at the Solheim Cup, the 27-year-old from Ireland captured her first LPGA Tour win at the LPGA Drive On Championship at Crown Colony in February, earned a tie for eighth at the U.S. Women’s Open and notched a runner-up finish at the Meijer LPGA Classic for Simply Give, an event she lost in a playoff to Kupcho.
Proving that she could give as good as she got on the needling front, Maguire said of her pairing with Reid, “We obviously had a great week at Solheim last year, so (we can) make it an annual affair. I suppose that's probably enough.”
It was Reid’s turn to suppress a laugh.
“Yeah, we'll have a few good days regardless,” Maguire said. “We'll both have some fun, hit some good shots hopefully, and lots of laughs out there this week.”
Last week Maguire was the only woman invited to play in the JP McManus Pro-Am at Adare Manor in Ireland, a 50-pro event that attracted such stars as Jordan Spieth, Justin Thomas, Collin Morikawa, Rory McIlroy and Tiger Woods. Xander Schauffele won, but Maguire was thrilled by one meeting.
“It was a really cool week, one of those once-in-a-lifetime-things,” Maguire said. “Poor Mel. I mean, I did meet Tiger last week, so it's a little bit of a step down. She's lucky I'm here. Got some good tips off Tiger, so we'll bring it into this week.”
Reid jumped in with, “She’s pissed that Tiger got the helicopter and she didn't.”
Then they got serious for a minute. “The next three weeks are huge,” Reid said. “Two majors in three weeks is a lot. But the reason I didn't want to miss this event is because, - listen, it's still a big event, don't get me wrong - but it's a little bit more laid-back of a format, so it's very nice. It finishes on a Saturday, so we get to get to Evian in time and have a little bit more time recovery.
“It's one of the events on the schedule that I try not to miss. I think it’s good prep going into three really big weeks, kind of see where your game is, where you need to get a few reps, and see where it's at. We've had two weeks off, so I didn't need any more than that.”
Maguire agreed. “I think it's nice to come to a community that's so excited to have the event. You see all the grandstands, it has a little bit of a major feel to it just with everything that's going up, even the amount of people here (Tuesday) for the pro-am day. Nice to be a part of an event like that. They have invested a lot in this community, so it's nice to sort of give back and be here to share in the excitement that everybody has for us.”
After that it was back to the dry witticisms. Would, for example, Maguire ghost Tiger’s texts for a week?
“Probably not,” she said, “Maybe a day. Not a week.
Reid followed with, “No, it's just me she ghosts.”
It is, indeed, going to be a fun week.