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Dublin: 10°C Friday 23 April 2021

Ireland's Leona Maguire named US National Player of the Year

The Cavan woman finished second at yesterday’s NCAA Championship to finish her season.

Image: Duke Women's Golf/Twitter

Updated at 4pm

FOR THE SECOND time in three seasons, Ireland’s Leona Maguire has been named the Women’s Golf Coaches Association (WGCA) National Player of the Year.

Over 10 events in 2016-17, Maguire registered eight top-five placements, three victories, nine rounds in the 60s and 21 rounds of even or under par.

She finished no lower than tied sixth over the course of the season.

The award comes just hours after the Cavan woman — already the world’s number one amateur golfer — finished an agonising second at the NCAA Championship at Rich Harvest Farms.

“It’s an incredible feeling,” commented Maguire.

It is a special award to win.  To get the vote of the coaches to say that I was the best player in college golf this year, it is a very humbling feeling and something I am very proud of.”

At the NCAA Championship, Maguire — playing for the Duke Blue Devils – opened with a 77, before closing with a one-under 71 and two-under 70 on the last two days.

However, her three-day total of 218 fell one short of Arizona State’s Monica Vaughn who shot back-to-back birdies near the end of her round to claim the win.

“I played really well all day,” said Maguire.  “I did exactly what I wanted to do – started with a nice par save on 10, hit some good birdies and just played really steady, solid golf.”

“I think when we saw the course on the practice round, I thought even par was going to be a good number, especially given the conditions that were forecasted.

Definitely the past two days in the wind, I am very happy with how I played.  There wasn’t a whole lot I could do about the first day with the wind, rain and cold that we got.

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“I am just glad that I stayed patient, kept giving myself chances and took advantage of as many of them as I could.”

The result means Maguire closes the season with a Duke University-record 70.29 season stroke average, 21 rounds of even or under par, eight top five finishes and nine rounds in the 60s.

And, of course, the WGCA National Player of the Year crown.

Originally published at 12pm.

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