Leona Maguire: Irish golfer prepares for Ladies European Tour debut

Leona Maguire
Leona Maguire beat Sweden's Sarah Nilsson at the first play-off hole in December to clinch a playing card for the 2019 Ladies European Tour

Former leading amateur golfer Leona Maguire aims to quickly make an impact in the pro ranks when she makes her Ladies European Tour debut on Thursday.

Maguire, who was the top-ranked amateur in women's golf for 131 consecutive weeks, earned a Tour card in December.

The Australian Ladies Classic is her first Tour event as a professional.

"Technically, I am a rookie but I don't feel like it too much. The Irish Opens and majors that I have played in will help me along the way," she said.

The County Cavan golfer, who played in numerous events on the Ladies PGA Tour and European Tour during a glittering amateur career, won the Ladies British Amateur Championship in 2017.

Maguire finished fifth at qualifying school to secure the highest category card available for the 2019 season.

Cavan's Leona Maguire previously played on the Ladies European Tour as a 12-year-old alongside twin sister Lisa at the Northern Ireland Open in 2007
Cavan's Leona Maguire previously played on the Ladies European Tour as a 12-year-old alongside twin sister Lisa at the Northern Ireland Open in 2007

"I am lucky that I have a good enough category to get into as many events as I want, and it is nice to start the year somewhere warm," she added.

This is Maguire's first trip to Australia, however the Bonville course in New South Wales has a familiar feel.

Speaking to the Ladies European Tour she added: "It's similar to North Carolina, where I spent four years in college, which was surrounded by pine trees.

"The wind here could be tricky swirling round the trees, but it's really nice. The course is in good shape.

"I'm looking forward to seeing a lot of faces that I haven't seen in a while, juniors and amateurs, and I will learn the golf courses and how it all works as I go along. "