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“This putt was for me, my family and for Ireland” – Leona Maguire hits the “shot of the year” and wins the Aramco Team Series

Cavan star makes history: She is the first Irish golfer to win the Ladies European Tour

The 29-year-old Co Cavan star endured a dreadful first nine holes at the Centurion Club, following two birdies on the opening round with four misses in a five-hole stretch, sandwiching bogeys on the fourth and eighth holes with a double bogey seven – where she hit out of bounds and needed three putts – to finish behind American Alison Lee.

Lee made bogeys on holes 14 and 18 to finish with a 68 (five under par), which put her level with Castlewarden rookie Lauren Walsh at the clubhouse lead on six under par. Walsh had made a sensational eagle on the final hole to finish with a sensational 65 (eight under par), which put her in joint third place on tour for the second year in a row.

Maguire moved to seven under par with a close-range birdie on the 12th hole, but she made bogey on the 16th hole after driving into the sand, putting her behind the experienced Maria Hernandez.

Seeking her second victory 14 years after her first, the Spaniard closed the 423-yard 18th hole at 5-5, making a birdie for a 68 and setting her target at seven under par.

That left their Solheim Cup teammates Maguire and Georgia Hall needing a birdie on the final hole to force a playoff and an eagle to win.

But it was the 29-year-old star from Co Cavan who came out on top, recalling her Solheim Cup mentality to hit a sensational hybrid onto the green for an eagle, a par 73 and her fifth victory as a professional, one stroke ahead of Hernandez and two strokes ahead of Walsh, Lee and Hall (eight under par).

“I think it was tough out there and I didn’t play my best golf,” said Maguire, who heads to the Amundi Evian Championship next week with her sights set on her first major victory.

“But to be fair, my caddie Dermot (Byrne) just kept saying, ‘Be patient, be patient.’ And right before I hit (the 18th hole shot), he said, ‘Let’s hit the shot of the year here,’ and yeah, it was just a perfect number and my trusty hybrids came in handy once again.”

As for her uneventful day, Maguire admitted that she was aware of where she stood throughout the day.

“I knew Alison was going to have a run,” she said. “Honestly, I thought I had to get to 10 (under). Ten was the number I had in my head.”

“I just persevered, even when things weren’t going well, and just waited for the situation to change. It was nice to confidently cross the finish line in 18th place.”

Maguire has two wins on the Epson Tour and two on the LPGA Tour and she was thrilled to win in Europe for the first time.

“I was just trying to hit a good putt,” she said of her eagle putt that went downhill from left to right. “It was almost a bit like a Solheim Cup – but that putt was for me, that putt was for my family and that putt was for Ireland.”

As for Walsh, the Carton House Tour pro boosted her chances at the AIG Women’s Open by finishing in the top five, which was still open after the Dutch Open at the end of the month.

She made six birdies in her first ten holes, following a bogey on the 14th with a birdie on the 16th and an eagle on the 423-yard 18th to set the clubhouse goal for the second year in a row.

“Honestly, it was something really special,” said Walsh, who, like Maguire, is coached by Black Bush pro Shane O’Grady.

“Yeah, my coach texted me last night saying, ‘Go under 70 tomorrow and see what happens.’ And after I was five under par after ten shots, I thought, let’s get some more birdies and see what happens.”

In the end, it was not enough for the former Wake Forest star to score her first win, but even though she cannot qualify for the Evian Championship, she increased her chances of taking part in the AIG Women’s Open in St. Andrews.

While it was a great day for Walsh and Maguire, it was a bittersweet day for Bernhard Langer (66) as he said goodbye to the DP World Tour at the BMW International Open in Munich, missing the cut by two strokes after a final score of 73.

“It’s hard to put into words,” said the 42-time DP World Tour winner. “For me, it’s a dream come true. I grew up in a village of 800 people where nobody knew what golf was… I was able to live this dream for 50 years.”

Scotsman Ewen Ferguson managed eight birdies and an eagle with a score of 64 (eight under par) and is now two strokes ahead of Frenchman Romain Langasque in Munich.

But West Waterford’s Séamus Power had a tougher time at the PGA Tour’s John Deere Classic, adding a one-under-par 70 to his first-round 64 to finish eight under par, six strokes behind early clubhouse leaders CT Pan and Aaron Rai.

At the Arnold Palmer Cup in Lahinch, the Irish pair Max Kennedy and Sara Byrne and Ryan Griffin and Kate Lanigan won their mixed fourball matches, helping the international team in Lahinch to a 6.5:5.5 lead over the USA.

Today’s sports news in 90 seconds – July 5