Leona Maguire returns to Dromoland Castle this week as she prepares to play on home soil at the KPMG Women’s Irish Open.
After the tournament returned to the LET schedule in 2022, following a ten-year hiatus, the 28-year-old can’t wait for the week ahead.
Last year, there were estimated to be 30,000 people in attendance across the week and the two-time LPGA Tour winner is always thankful for home support.
“It’s huge to have this event,” said the Solheim Cup winner. “The crowds were amazing last year, and I think everyone was really excited to have this tournament back on the schedule.
“I remember last year a lot of the LET girls were saying to me, it almost felt like a major the way the crowds were, so I think everybody is really excited to be here. I think that’s the general feel here this week, you can tell everybody at Dromoland is excited to have us and the players are excited to be here. It’s a win-win for everybody.
“With the dates being a smidge earlier, it’s nice that so many Irish amateurs are getting a chance to play this week. For some of them, it’s their first time playing in a professional event. I was fortunate enough to do that as an amateur when I was younger, so that’s a huge learning experience for them and that’s exactly what you want for a home open.”
Maguire, who is number 17 in the Rolex Women’s World Golf Rankings, finished in a tie for fourth place at the 2022 edition of the tournament after rounds of 67-75-65-68.
But despite being the home favourite, the Irishwoman is trying to treat this week like any other week and not think about the expectations.
She explained: “It’s always special to come home and you try to do as well as you possibly can. It’s a busy week for me, there’s a lot of demands on my time and you’re trying to give everybody as much time as you can and still prepare.
“There’s a lot of things to juggle this week and that was a big learning experience for me last year, but at the same time, you’re so appreciative of everyone who comes out and follows. You meet people who say they’ve followed you for the past 10-15 years and you want to do as well as you possibly can for them.
“You try and treat it like any other week and play as well as you can. You want to do well every week and this week is no different.
“I’m going to try and play as well as I possibly can, it’s just an added bonus this week that you have extra people cheering for you and clapping when…