Leona Maguire Looking to go Back-to-Back
All of the game’s best are in the field at the 2023 KPMG Women’s PGA Championship but only one is coming into the week off an impressive LPGA Tour victory – Leona Maguire.
Maguire, who won the Meijer LPGA Classic Sunday night thanks to a sizzling final-round 64 – where she went 6 under for her final six holes – kept the momentum going Thursday at Baltusrol Golf Club.
She shot a 2-under 69 to open the championship and was one of the co-leaders when the morning wave wrapped up. Maguire was as dialed in as you could be for the first round, and that resulted in a solid score.
“Hit every fairway and nearly every green, which in a major championship is as stress-free as you can make it,” Maguire said.
Maguire admitted this week’s major-championship test was “completely different” as compared to last week’s golf course in Michigan. She had to be extra disciplined and patient with her approach to things.
“I think it's just a mentality,” Maguire said when asked about how different her effort would be at the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship versus a week ago. “I think you need equal amounts of patience, but this week it's definitely more conservative targets; middles of greens are good.
“If you're between clubs, a lot of the time we were taking the shorter one, just trying to stay out of that rough around the greens as much as we possibly can, and the greens are obviously firm, so you just have to really respect the golf course and know that par is a really good score on any hole as opposed to last week where you felt like you could almost birdie every hole.”
Maguire has taken a relaxed approach to the preparation this week prior to Thursday’s opener. She didn’t do that much on Monday, she said, played the 18-hole pro-am on Tuesday morning and did some light practice after. She played another 18 holes early Wednesday and then rested, which was her plan for Thursday afternoon as well. She said this week wouldn’t be the kind of week where you’d need to spend a lot of time on the driving range working through the bag – it’d be more of a “just play” approach, and so far, she said, that plan has been working well.
Maguire said that when she’s playing well it’s easier to make sure her rhythm is solid and she’s committing to her targets.
“When you’re swinging well, that’s easier to do,” Maguire said. “I mean, golf doesn’t always go according to plan, but when it does, you might as well ride the momentum as long as you can.”
Through 18 holes at the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship, the ride has been pretty smooth for Leona Maguire.