Hard work, hard work, hard work that is how Leona Maguire has progressed into one of the best female golfers in the world.
Nothing comes easy in life, anyone who has lifted a golf club for a short five-hole or nine-hole never mind 18-hole game will tell you that.
One good shot can quickly be followed by a string of poor shots, distance never mind accuracy can become a fall guy in a passing moment.
Maguire however has shown very fast and impressive improvements to move into the upper echelon of the women’s game. This being just her second season on the LPGA tour and already this season is looking like a watershed.
The second place finish at the Lotte championship in Hawaii was another marker on this trip. Most impressively Maguire’s endurance seems to be her now strongest asset.
I was once told that ‘your weaknesses are actually your strength’s once you identify them’ that is a point that the 26-year-old Cavan woman identified in the last 24-months.
The second half of the weekend would usually see Maguire fall off the pace, but the last two tournaments have definitely shown where training has been applied and how it is now starting to pay off.
Consistency takes time and effort to develop, heading into this weekend Maguire’s four 2021 tournaments read round-on-round; Gainbridge 69-72-69-72, drive-on 69-71-73-70, Kia Classic 72-74-70-74, ANA 67-73-74-70.
Consistency has slowly been coming together, Gainbridge and the drive-on tournaments showed this early development. Highlighting the strength work which had been carried out last winter, the yardage was increasing well.
At the ANA, the opening round 67, followed disappointingly know doubt by second and third rounds 73 and 74, saw a recovery with a final round 70. The performance showed a steel, a determination that Maguire was working on her game, fighting for form and when you fight for form, it does generally pay you a visit.
And so to Hawaii the LPGA arrived, the 11 hour time difference making it run Wednesday to Saturday night for those of us watching via streams or high jacked videos from Ireland and what we saw; continued determination for victory.
Constituency in the opening two rounds shooting 68 and 67. This week was a different though, were once she may have faltered this week, the form she had battled for continued with an excellent third round 65, her best of the week.
Five birdies heading out into the country in round three, just one bogey on the return to the clubhouse and for good measure an eagle four from home for an impressive five under par round.
The scorecard may say one thing, but the statistics repeat another for the fourth round, 14 tee shots making the fairway; a 100% record. Just 28 putts on the final day in a round which saw an excellent eagle on the par five 17.
This proves not just working on form, but working on strength and power is telling in her general play.
Second place overall and a nice purse of prize money. It isn’t a tour victory, but that will come, for a 26-year-old to show this maturity to work on the weak elements of her game, to fight for constituency and form, it is surely just time before a victory will be recorded.
While undoubtedly expectation will rise as the Cavan woman aims to pick up a tour victory, the chances of a Solheim cup appearances have now gathered much momentum.
While England’s Mel Reid is out of sight for the last qualifier spot, Maguire should surely be eying one of the six captain’s picks. At the start of this week, Dane Emily Krisine Pedersen was the sixth ranked European on the World rankings behind Reid who holds the fourth and final ranking qualifier place.
Pedersen holds an average ranking score of 1.80 to Maguire’s pre-Hawaii score of 0.99. A good run of tournaments before July could ease Maguire in the hunt for place on team.
By the time the Solheim cup rolls around the 26-year-old should have already competed in her second Olympic Games and as Paris is now just over three years, surely the aim for the Ballyconnell woman would be to become Cavan’s first three time Olympian.
Patience in the game of golf is a virtue, but now at this stage of 2021, time is surely her friend as records will fall and championships will be won as Leona Maguire chases that first ever Irish victory on the LPGA tour.
Normality resumes as the GAA returns to training
12-months ago when GAA players returned to training it was welcomed with screaming and cheers. While Monday April 19 is the official return to 2021 training, it has been welcomed with more traditional quiet charm.
You see no one really likes training do they? You’re out of shape and the hard drills begin. You haven’t really put the work in on your 5K run have you? And now the coach is screaming for you to be Usain Bolt.
There’s a quiet return to training and in some part because, training although it shouldn’t have, didn’t really go away for a lot of counties.
Many moons ago as an underage player our centre fielder was shown the line for throwing a punching during the game. There we all were a bunch of 13-year-old’s feeling all grown up as the referee branded the red card and our centre fielder got a two week suspension.
But you see he didn’t really! Week one was a hurling week so we didn’t have a fixture, week two well it rained mid-week so we didn’t have a fixture!
It was an under-14s game so does anyone really want to stop a young lad from playing ball and move a useless two week ban to a two game one?
The Dublin footballers will not have a home game in the 2021 Allianz League; part of their punishment for breaching the covid training ban.
Rather than drag the poor punished Dubs to Tralee, let’s just make them go to Portlaoise and bring Kerry the other half of the way, sure it’s bad enough on the poor aul Dubs that they have to play away games behind closed doors anyway.
One thinks the more things change, the more they stay the same.