Irish Powerhouse Leona Maguire Blissfully Ignores the Cash Grab Shenanigans Amid the Real Golfing ‘Fun’

Published 12/09/2023, 4:30 AM EST

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What would Leona Maguire prefer? To earn the prodigal sums of money extending to $600 million that Jon Rahm reportedly did? Or to tee off in more mixed-gender events like the Grant Thornton Invitational? Speaking to the media after her first round, the Irish pro said she “had fun,” which is what “golf is about.

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Grant Thornton Invitational, a $4 million purse mixed-gender event, has nothing in common with the Saudi-funded LIV Golf, which regularly throws the same amount at its champions. Nevertheless, the two mark a momentum shift in the golf world, and standing at the crossroads, Leona Maguire would much prefer the golf world to take the right turn.

Leona Maguire takes her pick 

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Jon Rahm’s reported $600 million switch to the breakaway league created a ripple effect that made its presence felt at the Tiburon Golf Club. Speaking on the choice between earning jaw-dropping sums like the Spaniard and teeing off in more such events, Leona Maguire said the mixed-gender event took her back to childhood as she grew up “playing with the guys.

For the 26-year-old, pairing up with Glover was a trip down memory lane. “There was (sic) no girls in my golf club except my sister to play with, so it almost felt like we had gone back in time a little bit.” Crossovers, like the Grant Thornton Invitational, are indeed rare. This is the first time since the 1999 JCPenney Classic that the PGA Tour and the LPGA Tour are jointly hosting an event.

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For the European Ryder Cupper, this is indeed special—more special than the Saudi sovereign fund disposing of $600 million in her bank account. “It’s fun to see these guys do their thing up close. It’s really impressive. I think they see parts of our game that are impressive, too, so I think it’s nice for the fans to get the best of both this week,” the 29-year-old pro said in the press conference.

Sitting beside her, Lucas Glover also had a similar sentiment. The six-time PGA Tour winner has teed off with LPGA pros earlier in celebrity and Pro-Am-type events and said he would love to be a part of more such events. Golver’s bond with Maguire, despite a 15-year age gap, was reflected on the greens.

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The unlikely partnership that surprised everyone

Glover and Maguire were an unlikely pair—some might even say, an underdog. They didn’t have a coach or a trainer in common, like some of the other pairings in the mixed-gender event. However, that didn’t come in the way of making 13 birdies in the first round.

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The duo nailed birdies in each of the holes in the front nine. Making another four birdies on the back nine with an eagle on the par-4 13th, they moved to 15-under, 57. Currently, Glover and Maguire sit one shot behind team Finelly, consisting of Nelly Korda and Tony Finau.

Watch This Story | Amid the Historical $11M Event, Nelly Korda and an LPGA Companion Find Themselves in a ‘Hysterical’ Challenge Ahead of Korda’s Much-Awaited Comeback

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Written by:

Parnab Bhattacharya

577Articles

One take at a time

I, Parnab Bhattacharya, am a budding golf writer at EssentiallySports. I am keen on constantly exploring my deep-rooted love for golf through my long-time passion for writing. With a strong knack for storytelling and experience in SEO content writing, I bring a unique blend of fluent writing and technical expertise.
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Edited by:

Sheldon Pereira

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