Rio de Janeiro, Brazil: Ireland’s Leona Maguire has won the Mark H McCormack Medal for the second consecutive year as the leading women’s player in the 2016 World Amateur Golf Ranking (WAGR).
Maguire will compete for Ireland in the Rio 2016 Olympic Games this week and speaking from Brazil she said she was delighted to win the prestigious medal once again.
“It is a huge honour for me to win the Mark H McCormack medal again this year,” said Maguire. “I am incredibly grateful to my family, my coach Shane O’Grady, the Irish Ladies Golf Union and the Confederation of Golf in Ireland and everyone at Duke University. Without their support and help this would not be possible.
“This year has been great for me so far and winning the McCormack Medal makes it even more special. I am so excited to compete and represent my country in the Olympics this week and earning the medal gives me extra confidence, given how strong amateur golf is right now, as I prepare for the event.”
Maguire played a significant role in Great Britain & Ireland’s Curtis Cup win against the United States in June, contributing four points to the 11½-8½ victory. It was her third appearance on the GB&I team.
Last month, she won the Smyth Salver after finishing as the leading amateur at the Ricoh Women’s British Open at Woburn, in a tie for 25th place, and also played in the US Women’s Open at CordeValle.
During the 2015-16 season, the Irishwoman picked up a number of individual honours, including Irish Independent Young Sport Star of the Year and Irish Golf Writers’ Women’s Amateur of the Year in 2015.
The 21-year-old won the Ruth’s Chris Tar Heel Invite in late 2015 after winning three times earlier in the season, including the ACC Championship and medallist honours at the NCAA South Bend Regional.
Maguire, in just two seasons at Duke, ranks in the top-10 in school history in wins, even or under-par rounds, tournaments as Duke’s top scorer and rounds in the 60s.
For the second year in a row, she was selected for the Women’s Golf Coaches Association (WGCA) All-Region squads, the WGCA All-America first team and the 2015-16 WGCA All-American Scholars Team, which recognises academic as well as athletic excellence.
Following the Olympic Games, in the autumn, Maguire will take part in Qualifying School for the LPGA Tour. As long as she remains an amateur she will receive an exemption into the Ricoh Women’s British Open and the US Women’s Open in 2017.
The R&A and United States Golf Association (USGA) award recognises Maguire’s outstanding performances this year and is named after Mark H McCormack, who founded sports marketing company IMG and was a great supporter of amateur golf.
Johnnie Cole-Hamilton, Executive Director – Championships at The R&A, said: “For Leona to win the Mark H McCormack Medal for a second year running is an outstanding achievement. I congratulate her on another tremendous season. To consistently deliver excellent results over two years requires real dedication and commitment. She is a hugely talented golfer who is a worthy winner of the award.”
John Bodenhamer, USGA Senior Managing Director, Championships & Governance, said: “The USGA salutes Leona Maguire for winning the McCormack Medal for the second consecutive year, which puts her in nearly the same company as Lydia Ko, who won in 2011, 2012 and 2013.
“It certainly illustrates the high calibre of her play over an extended period of time, at the NCAA or Curtis Cup levels and even in professional events. Clearly, she has earned her distinction.”
The WAGR, which is supported by Rolex, was established in 2007 when the men’s ranking was launched. The men’s ranking encompasses more than 2,300 counting events, ranking more than 6,500 players from 101 countries worldwide.
The women’s ranking was launched in 2011 and has a calendar of more than 1,320 counting events with over 3,190 ranked players from 72 countries worldwide.
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