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'The LPGA will still be there': Leona Maguire postpones pro career to finish college degree

The 21-year-old is in the final year of her Psychology, Business and Accounting course at Duke in North Carolina.

Maguire competed for Ireland at the Rio Olympics.
Maguire competed for Ireland at the Rio Olympics.

ONE STEP AWAY from earning her place on the LPGA Tour for next season, Leona Maguire has withdrawn from the final stage of Qualifying School to remain as an amateur for 2017.

The 21-year-old from Cavan has decided to postpone a much-anticipated move into the professional ranks to instead complete her studies at Duke in North Carolina.

Maguire was due to compete at LPGA Q-School next week at Daytona Beach, where 20 cards for next season were up for grabs, but announced this afternoon that she wanted to graduate with a degree in Psychology, Business and Accounting next summer.

“Upon considerable deliberation, I have decided to withdraw from stage III of LPGA Q-school and not pursue LPGA membership for 2017,” she said

“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, currently ranked the number one amateur in the world, represented Ireland at the Rio Olympics and finished in a tie for 21st with a performance which underlined her prodigious talent.

Ricoh Women's British Open - Day Four - Woburn Golf Club Maguire finished as the low amateur at the British Open in July. Source: Steve Paston

She will continue to play college golf for Duke in 2017 having already enjoyed a hugely successful career in America and is coming off the back of a productive summer.

As well as competing in Rio, Maguire helped Great Britain and Ireland to Curtus Cup success at Dun Laoghaire before claiming the prestigious top amateur award at the British Open in July.

“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,” she continued.

“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.

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“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 that I will get to graduate with my teammates and classmates in 2018.”

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