It has been a super successful year for Irish professional golfer Leona Maguire.
Since early 2021, Maguire has claimed three top 10 finishes at the LPGA majors and making her mark in Europe's Solheim Cup victory in Ohio in September.
"I think it's been my most successful year to date" she expressed.
"The majors are obviously a big focus point for next year. That summer of next year is going to be very busy, jam-packed. I’ve got the Solheim Cup hopefully in September as well and just trying to be contention as much as I can in those big events."
"I feel I’ve got better every year rankings wise, and I’m feeling more comfortable out in the LPGA year-on-year."
The Cavan native announced that she will play the KPMG Women’s Irish Open in 2023 at Dromoland Castle, which will take place from August 31st to September 3rd , a week before the men's tournament at the K Club and less than a month before the Solheim Cup in Malaga.
This years Irish Open made it's return, having last been played in 2012 and was incredibly successful.
"This year was a fantastic success," she said of the event’s return.
"It was all put together at quite short notice so I think it went as well as we could have hoped. The crowds were fantastic, especially at the weekend. Hopefully we can do even better next year."
"It was nice that it finally came together, it would have been nice to have 5 more Pros playing, like the lads have, but hopefully that's in the plans for going forward and it will only get bigger and better"
Maguire was two shots off the lead heading into the final round at Dromoland with massive crowds following her progress, but unfortunately the dream finish was just out of reach for the Cavan native as Klara Spilkova claimed the title by one stroke.
"Us Irish athletes always say the Irish fans are the best in the world."
We think you're probably right @leona_maguire 🇮🇪#RyderCup | @TourismIreland pic.twitter.com/Ps2IujfIaY
— Ryder Cup (@rydercup) December 15, 2022
The Cavan native has not only succeeded on the golf course, but has become a household name throughout the country.
Her score of 61 in the final round of 2021 Evian Championship was the joint-lowest in major history, male or female.
She also secured her first win on the LPGA Tour in February at the Drive On Championship in Florida. Such success has seen Maguire gathering even more fans, something the 28-year-old welcomes.
"We had bigger crowds in Dromoland than we did at the British open so I think that was really cool and really felt supportive"
Perfectly read! 💥@leona_maguire cards her first birdie of the @danaopenlpga on her fourth hole!
Watch the first round on Golf Channel! pic.twitter.com/CL95qCdNgM
— LPGA (@LPGA) September 1, 2022
Maguire's success has also been pivotal also in increasing the exposure and visibility in Irish women's sport.
"When it comes to equality in sport I think a lot of people get hung up on equal pay, and I think that is an important factor, but access to opportunity is also a massive part of it, and you see that with the Women's soccer team this year aswell"
"Hopefully that investment in women's sport can only but improve in the years ahead."
The prize money Maguire has accumulated in 2022 has hit almost €2 million after several top finishes. However, the Cavan golfer said not to expect her flying around the country in a Lamborghini!
"Coming home keeps me well grounded! I’ve never been interested in having a big flashy Lamborghini or anything like that."
"A lot of players struggle from the transition from amateur to pro life because of the investment it takes to keep going," Maguire said.
Since turning professional, Maguire said "I've been very fortunate to have partners that have supported me in my journey and let me just focus on
my golf and not be worrying"
She also expressed her gratitude at being able to help out her family financially, with her father retiring a bit earlier than he may have otherwise and helping with her siblings going through college.
"I’m very lucky to play golf for a living and travel the world and that’s something I’ll never take for granted"
Maguire will be spending Christmas in Cavan, and is looking forward to the break.
“I’ll be home in Cavan, which is nice,” she says. “It’s the biggest break I get all year so I’ll enjoy that and hopefully the weather is a little bit kinder to us over the next couple of weeks."
But thoughts of 2023 competitions won't be far from Maguire's mind.
"You want to stay ready as opposed to having to get ready" she said.
“Home for Christmas but will head back to Orland on the 2nd of January to get back at it and get ready for the first event of the year.”
Tickets for the 2023 KPMG Women’s Irish Open will go on sale in early January.