TWO of our brightest young sporting stars are off to America to pursue their dreams. 19-year-old twins Lisa and Leona Maguire from Swanlinbar will take up four year golf scholarships at Duke University in North Carolina, one of the most prestigious golfing schools in the world.
The girls who have honed their game at Castle Hume Golf Club and the Lough Erne Resort will enter Duke with a very impressive international resume.
Leona is a winner of 20 amateur titles and has already played in the 2010 and 2012 Curtis Cup as a member of the Britain and Ireland squad.
Lisa is a two-time member of the European Junior Solheim Cup team in 2009 and 2011, played in the Curtis Cup in America in 2010, and was the 2011 European Ladies Amateur and Spanish Ladies Amateur champion.
The girls will be part of a squad of nine student-athletes on Duke’s women’s golf roster for the 2014-15 season.
Speaking about their move, Declan Maguire, the girls’ father, spoke of a wonderful opportunity for the two to realise their dream of becoming professional golfers.
“It’s probably the best option. Apart from the golf, they want to get a good education first.
‘The system is a great training ground for the LPGA and it is home to most of the top golfers from around the world. It is a very competitive environment and I hope it will improve their golf playing tournaments week in week out.
“The whole structure is different they play a lot of stroke play events, while back here they’re used to playing match play more. A lot of the top players on both tours come from the college system and I hope Lisa and Leona will follow suit.”
After having their pick of many of the best schools in America, the girls finally settled on Duke, not just for the school’s academic and sporting excellence, but also the fact the school offered the girls the chance to pursue the next step of their careers together.
Lisa and Leona leave in the middle of August for college, but right now their focus in our finishing their education.
“They finish their Leaving Cert towards the end of June and education is the priority at the moment. If things don’t work out as planned it is something to fall back on.
“They want to be professional golfers though if at all possible, that’s their goal and hopefully over the next couple of years they will come closer to turning their dreams into reality.”
Duke University women’s golf coach Dan Brooks is looking forward to welcoming the two girls to America.
“Lisa and Leona have been stars on the European scene for several years,” said Brooks. “Both have played in Curtis Cups already.
“They are hard workers, both in the classroom and in golf. “It’s clear to me that they want the whole package – a degree from Duke, a chance to develop their games individually, and a great team experience. I can’t wait for them to join us.”
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