After becoming a Rolex First-Time Winner in 2022 at the last event held in the United States on the LPGA Tour, Leona Maguire said she is happy to be back stateside, touching down on Monday in California for the JTBC Classic presented by Barbasol. She said she powered through “tough jet lag” during the Asia Swing, and returned to her home in Orlando, Fla. to work with her coach before heading to Carlsbad. She’s been able to reflect on her win, and it’s only bolstered her belief in herself – but she knows the attention from her win comes and goes.
“It definitely gives you confidence knowing that you can compete, that you're good enough to win. I think for me the biggest switch was after Solheim. I don't feel like this win has added that much more. I felt like I earned a lot of my respect of my peers after Solheim,” said Maguire. “It's always nice people coming up, congratulating you, but just as much it's me congratulating Nanna this week after her win in Thailand as opposed to -- people forget of what happened a few weeks ago. Yeah, you're just trying to get another one I guess and keep going.”
Maguire is coming off T12 and T13 results at the HSBC Women’s World Championship and Honda LPGA Thailand, respectively. This week, she’s making her second appearance in the JTBC Classic, after making the cut her rookie year and finishing in a tie for 56th.
“I definitely felt like I was very comfortable with my game in Florida. Was the best I have ever played? I probably played some better golf last year at points,” said Maguire, who earned five top-5 finishes in 2021, including two runner-up performances. “Just it all clicked together, and it's one of those things you just never know when it's going to be your week. Just need to hole a few putts at the right time and felt like I did that in Florida. It was a very sort of clinical performance. I mean, if anything I felt like I played better in Thailand. It was weird. Tee-to-green I played better in Thailand; I just didn't putt as well as I did in Florida, and that's golf.
Despite what she claims as an underwhelming putting performance across the sea last week, Maguire leads the LPGA Tour this season in putts per round, at less than 28 (27.8). She is ranked 14th in strokes gained putting per round since tracking began last season, according to KPMG Performance Insights. She also ranks fourth on Tour in putts per greens in regulation (1.68). And even with the pressure of a major like the Chevron Championship looming next week, Maguire said she’s shifted the mindset to Aviara Golf Club, where it will stay through Sunday.
“This week is all about this week, trying to play as well as I can this week, and when Sunday night comes we'll switch our attention to Chevron,” said Maguire. “Right now 100% of the focus has to be on this week and whatever it takes to putt well and score well around here.”