FORT MYERS, Fla. — Leona Maguire became the first Irish winner in LPGA Tour history Saturday, closing with a 5-under 67 for a three-stroke victory in the LPGA Drive On Championship at Crown Colony.
“It’s huge for Irish golf,” Maguire said. “There was never an Irish player on the tour, let alone a winner. Hopefully, there is a lot of people watching at home tonight with big smiles on their faces and little girls watching knowing they can do that, too.”
Tied with Marina Alex for the second-round lead after a 65 on Friday, Maguire had seven birdies and two bogeys — the last on the par-5 18th as the 27-year-old former Duke star finished at 18-under 198.
“It’s a bit surreal,” Maguire said. It’s been 17 years in the making, and you kind of wonder if it’s ever going to happen.”
Maguire had an early birdie and a bogey, then ran off five birdies in a seven-hole stretch from the seventh to the 13th. She also birdied the par-4 16th. Her closing bogey left her 1 over for the day on the four par-5 holes.
“I knew my game was close,” Maguire said. “I did a lot of hard work in the offseason.”
Lexi Thompson was second after a 65, and Sarah Schmelzel had a 64 to finish third at 14 under. Alex (72) was another stroke back with Stacy Lewis (68), Patty Tavatanakit (67), Xiyu Lin (63) and Brittany Altomare (68).