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Leona Maguire finishes second after ding-dong Sunday battle with Korda

Maguire shot a bogey-free 66 on Sunday, but Korda held on to win by two shots.

Maguire: shot six-under on Sunday but it wasn't enough (file photo).
Maguire: shot six-under on Sunday but it wasn't enough (file photo).
Image: SIPA USA/PA Images

LEONA MAGUIRE MATCHED her best-ever week on the LPGA Tour as she finished second on an enthralling final day at the Meijer Classic.

The Cavan native found herself in a ding-dong battle with world number four Nelly Korda, who seized control of the tournament with a 10-under par 62 on Saturday.

Maguire continued her recent form to close out a brilliant week with a bogey-free 66 to finish on 23-under par.

But it wasn’t enough to deliver her first LPGA Tour title as world number four Nelly Korda held on for a two-shot win on 25-under.

As well as the runner-up cheque for approximately €180,000 ($214,000), Maguire — who started the week at 88th in the world — will continue her rise up the world rankings ahead of the Women’s PGA Championship which gets underway on Thursday at Atlanta Athletic Club.

“Nelly is one of the best players in the world and [I] went toe to toe with her pretty much all of today,” Maguire said afterwards.

“I knew it was going to be a battle. I knew I had a lot of golf in front of me and she had a three-shot head start.

“This week is going to be huge heading into a Major. I knew I was playing some great golf. It’s a huge confidence boost for the rest of the season.”

Korda’s three-shot overnight lead was erased in a magnificent front nine by Maguire, who made four birdies to join her American rival at the top of the leaderboard.

Korda re-opened the gap with back-to-back birdies on 10 and 11 before a bogey at 12 left her just one shot clear of Maguire as the pair entered the championship holes.

But it was at the par-five 14th that the tournament’s momentum tilted decisively, Maguire making birdie to move to 22-under but Korda rolling in an eagle putt to move two shots clear on 24-under.

That lead became three when Korda birdied 15 before a two-shot swing on the 16th — a bogey for Korda and a birdie for Maguire — left the bare minimum between them again and set up a grandstand finale.

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The tournament came down to the final hole where Maguire left herself a 25-foot putt for eagle, but she two-putted, leaving Korda to seal her two-shot win with a birdie.

“I’m really starting to feel like I belong out here,” Maguire said.

“Even though it’s still my rookie year, I’m feeling more and more comfortable every week. My first time in the last group going into the final round, and [I'm] really proud of how I managed that.

“You just never know how you’re going to react until you’re in that situation. Really proud of how I handled it.”

See the final leaderboard here >

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