Rory McIlroy isn't Ireland's only number one golfer collecting award after award

Leona Maguire has enjoyed a peerless rookie season in America.

Maguire recently moved to the top of the amateur rankings.
Maguire recently moved to the top of the amateur rankings.

THE EYES OF the Irish golfing fraternity are this week focused on Royal County Down but across the Atlantic, one of our own continues to make waves.

Leona Maguire, who is currently top of the amateur world rankings, was last night named the Women’s Golf Coaches Association Player and Freshman of the Year, which are the organisations highest honours for the 2014/15 season.

The 20-year-old from Cavan had already collected the ACC Player and Rookie of the Year accolades after a peerless first season in America which saw her claim eight top-five finishes and two tournament wins.

Maguire joined Duke University in North Carolina, where she is studying psychology along with her twin sister Lisa, last year and becomes just the seventh player from its history to win the top honour at the WGCA awards.

She joins an illustrious roll of honour which includes ten-time Major winner Annika Sorenstam.

In a recent interview with The42, the Irish number one said she didn’t expected her career to take off as quickly as it has.

“It’s a nice bonus,” Maguire said of her ascent to the top of the rankings. ”The goal for me though is always just to play well, to play to the best of my abilities.

“To get to the top of the rankings is a great confidence booster though and just reaffirms that I’m moving in the direction that I want. I suppose it’s a combination of a lot of years hard work and it’s paying off now.”

As well as individual success during the semester, Maguire helped Duke to three titles and finished the season with a stroke average of 70.8, breaking the school record of 71.0 held by current LPGA member Amanda Blumenhurst.

In 2011, Leona won the Irish Women’s Open Strokeplay title and the British Ladies’ Open Stroke Play Championship becoming, at 16, the youngest ever winner of the event.

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Ryan Bailey

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