Last Saturday, Leona Maguire carded a nine-under 63 after 3 rounds of the CME Group Tour Championship in Florida. This set up a thrilling duel between herself and Lydia Ko for the richest prize known to women’s golf, $2 million.
Maguire is one of the 11 first-time winners on the LPGA Tour this year. Lydia Ko was one of Maguire’s biggest competitors for this tour.
By the third round, Ko has a five shot lead, seven shots ahead of Maguire. Luckily a combination of bogeys and birdies stalled her round. Ko fell one shot behind Maguire at one point during the match, until chipping to tap-in range on the par-five 17th on her way to a round of 70.
At the end of Saturday, Maguire and Ko had a five-shot advantage over some big names in golf including former US Open winner, Korea’s Jeon-Geun Lee, Scotland’s Gemma Dryburgh, and Canada’s Brooke Henderson.
Battled until the very end, thank you everyone for the support this week 💚 Proud of my second place @CMEGroupLPGA to cap off a great year on the LPGA. Next up Spain for my last event of 2022 @LETgolf 🇮🇪 pic.twitter.com/KjEBfczTdm
— Leona Maguire (@leona_maguire) November 21, 2022
After the final round on Sunday, Ko walks away with the largest pay-day in the history of women’s golf. The prize money of $2 million dollars is $200,000 more than the US Women’s Open Championship.
"There were a lot of things on the line today. I really wanted to play the best golf I can. There were so many big names chasing Leona and me. I knew it would be a tough battle, especially with how tough the conditions were as well, but I just focused on my game. I just wanted to make my share of birdies.”
Unfortunately, Maguire could not keep up with Ko on Sunday. She made her best efforts to stay in touch with Ko, only briefly taking the lead in the early stages. Carded a level par 72 to sign off on 15-under-par overall as Ko snuck it by two shots.
Even with a second-place finish, Maguire still gets to walk away with a prize of $550,000. Maguire stays positive by saying:
"It was an incredible week. A really great way to finish off the season. If you had offered me second at the start of the week, I would have grabbed it with both hands. It would have been nice to play a little bit better today, but it was really tough out there today. The wind was strong. It was cold.”