Leona Maguire is anticipating a tricky challenge over the first two days of the ISPS HANDA World Invitational Presented by AVIV Clinics.
The ISPS HANDA World Invitational sees two separate 72-hole stroke play tournaments for men and women with two separate prize funds of USD $1,500,000.
Over the first two rounds, the players will face two different courses as they tee it up on the parklands course at Galgorm and on the Links Golf at Castlerock Golf Club.
And having to play Links one day and parkland the next, Maguire knows she will have to adapt to each course and the conditions.
“It’s two very different tests this week,” said the two-time LPGA Tour winner. “Obviously, one being links, one being parkland. Castlerock is a pure links golf course.
“The conditions will very much be dependent on weather. There are semi-blind tee shots and like on any golf course, you need to stay out of those pot bunkers that can be pretty penal.
“Galgorm is playing lush and soft, a little bit more target golf I think, and you have to stay out of the rough. It will definitely be a premium on hitting fairways around Galgorm.
“In links in particular, with the winds, there are some shots that you can hit four different clubs and there’s not really a right or a wrong club. It’s whatever you think at that moment in time.
“Whereas over here on this side at Galgorm it’s more target golf and you’re just going to hit it straight at the pin. It’s an adjustment in mindset, but I think that’s the fun of it. It’s nice when you have to be a little bit more creative and use your imagination a little bit, and it’s not just stand up and hit it wherever you want.
“That’s the beauty of links golf. We played Castlerock pretty calm yesterday in one wind, and then it can be you hit driver, wedge one day and it could be driver, 3-wood the next day, so it depends, and you have to judge it when you get there and take each one as it comes.”
Maguire, who is number 14 in the Rolex Women’s World Golf Rankings, will begin her competition at 8.14 am (local time) at Castlerock alongside American Mina Hariage and Anne Van Dam of the Netherlands.
While the Irishwoman also hopes the crowd will be able to appreciate the golf game of the men and women teeing it up this week.
“We’ll probably have quite different strategies in terms of how we play the holes,” she explained. “We’ll probably be going driver a lot out here; whereas they’re probably taking 2-irons and things off tees.
“It’s fun to see a few of the guys I played junior golf with. I was up here on Monday afternoon and two of the first guys I saw were Matteo Manassero and Adrian Otaegui, who I played the Junior Ryder Cup with in 2008.
“I haven’t really seen them since, so nice to catch up with them and see how far we’ve all come. We’ve all won on Tour now, and nice to see the journey.
“It’ll be fun for the fans as well to see those alternating groups and see the difference, and hopefully people don’t try to compare too much. I think that you can enjoy the skill of both the ladies and the men without having to sort of compare and contrast them. There are great things to see and learn from both sides.”
The 28-year-old who hails from Cavan, Ireland will have plenty of support on the ground this week with family and friends in attendance.
And after solid weeks in the final two majors of the year with T42 at The Amundi Evian Championship and T30 at the AIG Women’s Open, Maguire is not putting too much pressure on herself and is focusing on enjoying the game.
She added: “My mum and dad are here, my sister Lisa is on the bag, and I have lots of friends coming. A lot of friends from junior golf that we haven’t seen in quite a while. It’s nice to see some of those familiar faces, and anytime they are rooting you on, it’s extra special.
“All the pieces are there. It’s just getting them to click at the right time. Hopefully, that can sort of happen in the next few weeks again. The way the year has gone, getting the win and everything, everything that happens for the second half of the season is kind of a bonus.
“I’m not really putting too much pressure on myself. I just want to enjoy these few weeks of golf and the last of the European stretch and then we’ll finish the season off.”