GolfDifferent Strokes

Leona Maguire sees room for improvement despite ‘solid’ week at Major

Irish golfer finished tied-23rd, 10 shots behind American Lilia Vu, in the Chevron Championship

Describing her week’s work at the Chevron Championship, the first of five women’s Majors this year, as “solid,” Leona Maguire admitted to needing some work on her approach play as she heads on to the JM Eagle Los Angeles Championship at Wilshire Country Club, which has the iconic Hollywood sign as a backdrop.

“My approach shots weren’t good enough,” said Maguire after finishing tied-23rd, 10 shots behind American Lilia Vu, in the Chevron. “I need to tighten that up . . . overall, it was a solid week.”

Maguire – currently 15th in the Rolex world rankings and 20th on the LPGA Tour order of merit season’s standings – has moved from Texas to California for the tour stop in the heart of Hollywood, after which she will have a week off as there is no Ireland team in next week’s International Crowns event in San Francisco.

Stephanie Meadow, who missed the cut in the Chevron, is also competing in Los Angeles where Vu – already a two-time winner on the LPGA Tour this season – will be looking to continue her rich vein of form on home turf. Vu is a graduate of the University of California, Los Angeles.


Maguire, meanwhile, congratulated American Rose Zhang who set a new record of 136 weeks as number one in the world amateur rankings. Maguire’s streak of 135 weeks was the previous record.

“It takes so much hard work and determination to become the world’s number one amateur golfer and to consistently hold that position for a record-breaking number of weeks shows just how good a golfer Rose really is. She is a future star of the game”

Clarke eager to defend his Senior Open crown

As expected, Darren Clarke has formally announced his intention to defend the Senior Open trophy when the championship takes place at Royal Porthcawl in Wales from July 27th-30th.

The Northern Irishman edged out Pádraig Harrington to the title at Gleneagles last year to become just the fourth player – joining Bob Charles, Gary Player and Tom Watson – to complete The Open and Senior Open double.

“The feeling of winning The Senior Open last year is something I will never forget and I am incredibly excited to visit Royal Porthcawl later this year to try and defend my title.

“I made no secret of the fact that I wanted to win The Senior Open more than anything, so I could sit it beside my Claret Jug, and to be able to do that is a privilege.

“I feel so honoured to be able to put my name alongside some of the greats of the game and now I want to keep playing well and keep contending in some of the biggest events on our schedule.

“Royal Porthcawl is a magnificent golf course and is one that will test every facet of your game. I’m looking forward to the challenge and can’t wait to see everybody in Wales later this year.”

Word of Mouth

“I was actually in the hospital probably at this point last year” – Nick Hardy on what a difference a year has made in his career. Hardy was forced out of last year’s Zurich Classic of New Orleans after suffering a wrist injury. This time, he partnered with Davis Riley in the two-man team event as each recorded breakthrough success on the PGA Tour.

By the Numbers: $2,950,000

That’s the amount – in US dollars – raised in the Chevron Challenge on the 17th hole during the Chevron Championship after an initiative by the sponsors to donate $10,000 for every birdie on the hole over the first three days and $100,000 for every birdie on the final day and $1 million for the first hole-in-one. That ace duly arrived in Saturday’s third round when In Gee Chun holes out to send the numbers flying upwards. The money raised is to be distributed to a number of charitable causes and foundations.

On this day: April 25th, 1971

The rough at La Costa Country Club for the Tournament of Champions – confined to the 35 players who had won on the PGA Tour in the previous 12 months – was so high that some players sought to make jokes about their plight in playing out of it.

Ahead of the final round, Doug Sanders had quipped to fellow players in the locker room: “I’ve just earned a $200 reward. I found the tractor in the rough they say has been missing for two days.”

Not that Jack Nicklaus had any difficulty in navigating his way to victory. The Golden Bear claimed an eight-stroke winning margin with a 72-hole total of 279, the win earning him a payday of $33,000 from the purse of $165,000.

Nicklaus finished eight shots clear of Gary Player, Bruce Devlin and Dave Stockton who shared the runners-up placing.

Twitter Twaddle

Great week with my partner @DodoMolinari here at the @ZurichClassic. Still some good golf left in the tank for these 40 somethings….. next up @italianopen – Europe’s Ryder Cup captain Luke Donald after teaming-up with Edoardo Molinari in New Orleans where the duo finished tied-23rd. The Italian Open at Marco Simone, the host course to the Ryder Cup later this year, takes place on May 4th-7th.

Really bummed to be heading home early but had an absolute blast w/ @collin_morikawa out there. Game feels good just need my ball to make like my blue check mark and disappear more often. Looking forward to a week at home with the fam before the Wells Fargo in Charlotte – Max Homa.

Awesome week in Adelaide. Winning is a process and this week and The Masters were two big steps in the right direction – Phil Mickelson on following up his Augusta second place finish with tied-12th in the LIV Adelaide tournament (seven strokes behind winner Talor Gooch).

In the Bag - Lucas Herbert

ISPS Handa Japan

TaylorMade Stealth 2+ (9 degrees)

3-wood – TaylorMade Stealth+ (15 degrees)

5-wood – TaylorMade Stealth+ (19 degrees)

Hybrid – TaylorMade Stealth+ (22 degrees)

Irons – TaylorMade P790 UDI (2), TaylorMade P7TW (4, 6-PW)

Wedges – TaylorMade Grilled Grind 3 (50 and 60 degrees)

Putter – TaylorMade Spider Tour

Ball – TaylorMade TP5

Know the Rules

Q Before playing a shot from a fairway bunker, Player A took a practice swing and connected with the sand in doing so. Her opponent in the matchplay, Player B, claimed Player A was in breach of the rules for her actions. Player A claimed she was within the rules. What is the ruling?

A Player B is correct, her opponent – Player A – infringed the rules. Under Rules 12.2a and 12.2b, the player is allowed to touch or move loose impediments in a bunker and allowed to touch the sand with a hand or club. However, under Rule 8, you can’t intentionally touch the sand to “test” it, and you can’t clip the sand during a practice swing or touch the sand in making the backswing for a stroke. The general penalty for such an action by Player B is loss of hole in matchplay (and a two-strokes penalty in strokeplay).