KirkwoodGolf: Leona Maguire Selected PING WGCA National Player of the Year

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Leona Maguire Selected PING WGCA National Player of the Year

From Jack Winters, Duke Coach
May 23, 2017
SUGAR GROVE, Illinois. – Duke University third-year student Leona Maguire was named the winner of the PING Women's Golf Coaches Association (WGCA) National Player of the Year Tuesday morning, which was announced live via the Golf Channel at the NCAA Championship in Sugar Grove, Ill. Maguire earns the award for the second time in three years and becomes just the fifth collegiate golfer to earn the award multiple times.

"It's an incredible feeling," commented Maguire. "It is a special award to win. To get the vote of the coaches to say that I was the best player in college golf this year, it is a very humbling feeling and something I am very proud of."

A native of Cavan, Ireland, Maguire collected one of the best stroke averages in NCAA history this past season with a 70.29 ledger. It was the lowest since Lorena Ochoa collected a 70.13 stroke average in the 2002 campaign. Maguire broke her own Duke and ACC record from her freshman campaign of 70.78.

Over 10 events in 2016-17, Maguire registered eight top five placements, three victories, nine rounds in the 60s and 21 rounds of even or under par. She finished no lower than tied sixth over the course of the season. Maguire won the ACC Individual Championship, while helping the Blue Devils claim Duke's 20th ACC title in school history.

She finished runner-up at the NCAA Championship, won the LSU Tiger Golf Classic and the Northrop Grumman Regional Challenge. Maguire also placed tied sixth at the NCAA Albuquerque Regional.

Maguire on winning an award voted on by the coaches, "It has tremendous value. They are people I look up to every day on the golf course and I value the work they do. We wouldn't be here without the support of all of our coaches and we are very lucky to have two coaches at Duke in Coach Brooks and Jon [Whithaus]. I wouldn't be where I am today without their support. To have the support of all of the coaches in college golf is an incredible feeling."

Recognized annually as the top honour in women's collegiate golf, the PING WGCA Player of the Year Award is awarded to the best player in Division I, II and III women's golf. The award was first given in 1987 and the names of recipients' read as a who's who of the best of the ladies game including Blue Devil alumna Amanda Blumenherst (3-time), Lorena Ochoa (2-time) and Annika Sorenstam. The recipient is selected by a prestigious collection of women's collegiate golf coaches who follow criteria that has been established to identify the finest player for the past year.

Also released Tuesday morning were the WGCA First Team All-America selections with Maguire earning the recognition for the third straight season. She joins Blumenherst Lindy Duncan, Liz Janangelo and Virada Nirapathpongporn as Duke golfers to be named First Team All-America in each of their first three seasons.

Maguire joined Blumenherst (3-time winner), Lorena Ochoa of Arizona (2-time winner), Marisa Baena of Arizona (2-time winner) and Wendy Ward of Arizona State (2-time winner) as multiple winners.

A Duke golfer has won the WGCA National Player of the Year a total of eight times since the 2003-04 campaign –Janangelo (2003-04), Blumenherst (2005-06, 2006-07, 2007-08), Duncan (2011-12), Celine Boutier (2013-14) and Maguire (2014-15, 2016-17).
WGCA First Team All-Americans
Kristen Gillman, Freshman, University of Alabama
August Kim, Senior, Purdue University
Cheyenne Knight, Sophomore, University of Alabama
Jennifer Kupcho, Sophomore, Wake Forest University
Andrea Lee, Freshman, Stanford University
Leona Maguire, Junior, Duke University
Linnea Strom, Sophomore, Arizona State University
Maddie Szeryk, Junior, Texas A&M University
Maria Torres, Senior, University of Florida
Monica Vaughn, Junior, Arizona State University
Lilia Vu, Sophomore, UCLA