It was crowded leaderboard through four days at the Meijer LPGA Classic for Simply Give, with Tour winners, major champions and players looking for their elusive first title all aiming to rise the trophy Sunday in Belmont, Mich. But it was a final-round 64 by Leona Maguire that secured the Irishwoman above all the second Tour title of her career by two shots at -21, as she became the 11th different winner this season through 13 events.
Maguire stayed in the mix throughout the week finishing all four rounds in the 60s, the first time she has accomplished that feat this season, before putting on one of her most dominant displays of golf in her final round. Tied for fifth to start the day, Maguire kept pace through her front-nine, still in contention with birdies on Nos. 5 and 7. But it was a birdie and eagle on Nos. 13 and 14, respectively, where Maguire took a share of the lead at -18 and never looked back, carding three-straight birdies coming in to cement her place as the winner at Blythefield Country Club by day’s end.
The Irishwoman got the proverbial monkey off her back after finishing second her last two times in Belmont. “Yeah, I felt like I was playing some really good golf this week,” said Maguire “Been trying to be as patient as possible. The goal today was just to go out and shoot as low a score as possible and see where I ended up. I mean, this one is I think that little bit sweeter after coming so close two years in a row. I know a lot of people this week were saying you're due one, this course owes you something, all the rest, but I suppose that's not golf. Golf usually doesn't work like that. But nice that it all worked out well for me this week.”
The Epson Tour graduate has been stellar since her 2020 rookie season notching her third-straight top-10 finish on tour and fifth overall this season and her 19th career. She became the first native of Ireland to win on the LPGA Tour and was the first Irish member of the European Solheim Cup Team in 2021 where she went on to break the all-time rookie points record in either the Solheim Cup or Ryder Cup with a total of 4.5 points.
Maguire finished her day in the second to last group and awaited the results of Xiyu Lin and Amy Yang, two of three in the final grouping. Both Lin and Yang finished at -18 and a tie for third. Thailand native Ariya Jutanugarn took the biggest leap of the tournament, ending her first round tied for 102nd at +1 and ending second overall at -19. “I would say I change a lot, because like second round I have no expectation,” said Jutanugarn said of her mindset after day one. “I'm not thinking about outcome because I only want to work on my game, and it's come out pretty good.”
South Korea’s Hyo Joo Kim rounds out the top five finishing at -16 after a fourth-round 69. Kim finished her Meijer LPGA Classic for Simply Give experience with 23 carded birdies, tying for the second most of anyone in the field. Last year’s champion Jennifer Kupcho found herself on the outside looking in tied for sixth with Jasmine Suwannapura at -15 after an up and down round that saw four birdies, three bogeys and the week’s only ace on hole No. 5. Five players rounded out the top 10 with Hye-Jin Choi, Ally Ewing, Pauline Roussin, Aditi Ashok and Carlota Ciganda all finishing at -14.