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Europe's Leona Maguire with the Solheim Cup following day three of the 2023 Solheim Cup at Finca Cortesin, Malaga. Alamy Stock Photo
Flying the flag

'This is a week I'll never forget. It felt like Ireland' - Solheim Cup star Leona Maguire

The Cavan woman was central to Europe’s win.

LEONA MAGUIRE HOPES that Ireland can host the Solheim Cup one day after playing another starring role in Europe’s latest win.

The Cavan woman was instrumental in the comeback victory over the United States at Finca Cortesin in Spain, setting the tone at the outset of a dramatic final day.

Carlota Ciganda was ultimately the home heroine as she birdied the 16th and 17th holes to beat Nelly Korda and secure the decisive point, but it was Maguire who nudged Europe into the lead for the first time with a crucial 4&3 win over Rose Zhang.

She ultimately took three out of five points and was joint second among the European players, rounding off another sparkling Solheim Cup showing after Ohio 2021.

“It was nice to get blue on the board early,” Maguire reflected. “When I finished, it was looking really good and then it wasn’t looking so good and then back good again.

“The girls were incredible this week. It was a fantastic team, and we couldn’t have asked for a better captain [Suzann Pettersen]. It was, I think, very fitting that Carlota was the star of the show this week and got to hole the winning putt.

“The Irish fans were incredible. There was so many flags, so many cheers. I know we were in Spain, but it felt like we were in Ireland at a certain point. Just the support, this is a week I’ll never forget.”

Seeing that, and Ciganda hole the winning putt on home soil, must have sparked an Irish Solheim Cup dream. Asked if she thinks that’s a possibility, Maguire said:

“Yeah, I mean, with the Ryder Cup in a few years, it will be fantastic to see. Suzann and I were talking on the range this morning. I have vivid memories of Killeen Castle in 2011. These shirts remind me of that, and I think we all got a little bit of inspiration from that.

“It would be fantastic. I know there’s a few golf clubs interested in Ireland. Who knows if it’s the right time to play… maybe captaining there one day might not be too bad.”

Maguire came in for huge praise after another successful tournament, having played every single match in her two Solheim Cups and thrived off the format and match play.

“I just don’t give up,” she smiled. “I think someone said Jessica Korda tweeted the other day that I was annoying[ly good] at match play, and that was the goal this week was to be as annoying as possible.

“I love this team, I love playing in this event. You want to play as many times as you possibly can. Suzann made it very clear a couple of months ago that I would be playing five, and I think with the energy of this crowd and everything, I could have played 10. It was great.”

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