Duke Freshman, World’s No. 1-ranked Amateur Won Three Times this Year, Finished T-2 at NCAA Championships
The ANNIKA Foundation – golf Hall-of-Famer Annika Sorenstam’s charitable organization – congratulates Leona Maguire on winning the second-annual ANNIKA Award Presented by 3M as the country’s most outstanding female golfer.
A freshman at Duke University and native of Cavan, Ireland, Maguire is the world’s No.1-ranked amateur. She finished outside the top seven in only one of 11 events this year, on her way to tallying three wins (ACC Championship, NCAA South Bend Regional and Darius Rucker Intercollegiate). She also finished runner-up at the just-completed NCAA Championships and last fall’s ANNIKA Intercollegiate Presented by 3M.
The recognition was based on a vote of Division I golfers, college coaches and members of the golf media. LSU senior Madelene Sagstrom and UNLV senior Dana Finkelstein were the other two finalists. UCLA’s Alison Lee won last year’s inaugural award. Read more →
Definition – To persist in an idea, purpose or task despite obstacles.
Why it important? – To succeed in golf, players must continue through bad breaks and their own mistakes, while learning from past experiences.
What was the biggest obstacle that you faced during your golf career? How did you overcome it?
I have always been a shy person. When I was younger, I felt very uncomfortable in the limelight and being the center of attention. I was afraid to answer any questions in school in case I was wrong. I didn’t want the other kids to laugh at me. On the golf course, I would miss shots and three putt on purpose to avoid winning so I didn’t have to give the victory speech. This fear haunted me for a while and it wasn’t until I had to speak that I realized that it wasn’t as scary as I thought. I faced my fear and realized that my winning desire was bigger and that I would be disappointed in myself for not performing my best.
Can you share with up past experiences that you learned from that have helped get you where you are today?
I have two stories to share. One is how my parents made a plan with the tournament director to not only have the first place finisher give a speech, but also the golfers that finished second and third. I was terrified at first, but managed it well and knew I could handle it in the future. My second experience was when the University of Arizona director called me to ask if I wanted to give the commencement speech. At first, I thought to myself, “No. No. That’s not for me.” However, I asked if I could think about it. My mind told me that this would be a great challenge for me and to get better we have to work on our weaknesses. I accepted the opportunity and prepared rigorously. I managed and passed the test. Those two experiences taught me that if you believe, you can do anything if you put your minds towards it.
How can persevering on the golf course translate to everyday life?
It’s been said many times before, that golf and life are so similar. The lessons I have learned on the golf course has translated into real life experiences and vice versa. Golf is one of the hardest sports I have ever tried. Every day is so different and we have to adjust accordingly to the existing conditions in front of us, whether it is the course, weather, bounces, or playing partners. It continuously tests our mind and our ability. The more we play and practice the more we prepare ourselves to persevere through anything, just like in life!
This week the California desert will play host to golf’s first Major, the ANA Inspiration. The ANA Inspiration (formerly the Kraft Nabisco Championship) will be contested April 2 – 5 on the Dinah Shore Tournament Course at Mission Hills Country Club. There will be 116 players competing over four days for the chance to take home the title and dive into legendary Poppie’s Pond beside the 18th green. Of the 116 players, 15 are former and current ANNIKA Invitational participants who will be trying to follow in the footsteps of Annika, a three-time champion of the ANA Inspiration.
Six amateur exemptions were given out this year, and all six just happen to be ANNIKA Invitational alumni – Celine Boutier, Nelly Korda, Andrea Lee, Mika Liu, Haley Moore and Bethany Wu. The nine alumni that are competing as LPGA members are Austin Ernst, Yueer Cindy Feng, Jaye Marie Green, Danielle Kang, Jessica Korda, Alison Lee, Amelia Lewis, Stephanie Meadow and Kelly Shon. Of this group, Boutier (2011), Lee (2012) and Wu (2013 & 2014) are past ANNIKA Invitational champions. Moore qualified into the event after shooting a 5-under-par 67 and winning the ANA Inspiration Champions Junior Challenge, an 18-hole qualifier held for 33 Southern California girls on the Monday before the ANA Inspiration. Read more →
Originally posted at GOLFWEEK
By Andy Zunz
With less than a month until conference-championship season, the ANNIKA Award race is still wide open.
UNLV senior Dana Finkelstein showed the consistency she’s displayed all season with a third-place finish at the Arizona Wildcat Invitational. She’s among the movers on the latest ANNIKA Award Watch List.
The ANNIKA Award presented by 3M honors the player of the year in college women’s golf, as selected by a group of college golfers, coaches and members of the golf media. UCLA’s Alison Lee was named the inaugural ANNIKA Award recipient in 2014.
Here is the third edition of Andy Zunz’s ANNIKA Award Watch List, which names some favorites as the spring season heats up. If a player is not on the list, she can play her way onto it during the spring season. Read more →