Leona Maguire sets sights on Majors after closing with brilliant 64 in Thailand

LEONA MAGUIRE admitted she’s building up a head of steam for the majors after saving the best for last and closing with a bogey-free eight-under 64 to tie for 12th in the Honda LPGA Thailand.

he Co Cavan star prepared for two weeks in sweltering Asian conditions with hot baths and saunas, and he paid off as she tied for 13th in the HSBC Women’s World Championship in Singapore last week before going one better at Siam Country Club today.

Denmark’s Nanna Koerstz Madsen won her maiden LPGA Tour title when she eagled the second playoff hole from 10 feet to beat China’s Xiyu Lin after they had tied on 26-under.

But Maguire is looking ahead to the majors and with the Chevron Championship just over a fortnight away, she was pleased to make 22 birdies against just one bogey and a double-bogey in Thailand.

“I’m doing everything this side of US Open and just keep going, ride the momentum,” she said as she prepared to fly home to see her coach, then head back to Orlando before flying to the west coast for the JTBC Classic in Carlsbad and the first major of the year at Mission Hills from March 31.

The Irish star was concerned about the heat on her first trip to Asia for the LPGA and she surprised herself by adapting well to heat indexes in the triple digits Fahrenheit.

“Today was actually pretty good,” Maguire said of her ability to beat the heat. “I think I probably built it up in my head to be a bit worse than it actually was.

“I’ve done some hot baths and sauna work before I left, and pretty thankful I did that.

“I mean, it was hot. Don’t get me wrong. We’re not used to that kind of weather. But I felt like I managed it pretty okay.”

After starting the season with a tie for 27th in her opening event, Maguire won the LPGA Drive On Championship and has now added two top 13 finishes on her Asian debut to move up to third in the Race to CME Globe standings behind Danielle Kang and Brooke Henderson.

“My game is in really good shape,” said the world number 19, who is playing some of the best golf of her career.

“I felt like I played really, really good golf tee to green this week. I didn’t hole any putts at all the first three days; holed a few today, which was nice. So overall, my game is in good shape heading out of here.”

She plans to play every LPGA Tour event up to the US Women’s Open in June and will jet into Dublin tomorrow before spending a day with her coach, Shane O’Grady.

Her plan then is to enjoy some home cooking before heading back to her Orlando base and on to the west coast for the JTBC Classic and the opening major of the year, the Chevron Championship.

“My approach shots were really good all week,” she said. “I gave myself a lot of chances and it was quite frustrating trying to stay patient.

“But it’s nice. Any time you finish off a tournament or a swing with your best round, it’s always good.

“I’m home for two days. So I have tonight, early morning, home for a couple of nights, and then back to Orlando for a little tune-up and then west coast.”

The tune-up with her coach will take place in Ireland before she makes the trek across the pond.

“I don’t get to go home that often, so my coach is based back in Dublin, so any time I get to go home, it’s kind of something to work on,” she said.

“I mean, the game doesn’t need an awful a lot of work. Just kind of a fine-tuning and checkup, few home-cooked meals and sleep in my own bed and be good to go again.”

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