They look alike, sound the same and have done just about everything together. Tomorrow, twin sisters Leona and Lisa Maguire will start their journey to obtaining a Ladies European Tour card at Pre-Qualifying for the Lalla Aicha Tour School finals in Morocco.
A field of 70 players from 24 countries is set to compete in Pre-Qualifying B at Amelkis Golf Club in Marrakesh over four rounds, from Friday, December 7, to Monday, December 10. The number of players who will progress to the Final Stage, to be played at Amelkis Golf Club and Palm Golf Ourika on December 16-20, will be confirmed after all of the players have teed off in the first round on Friday.
Leona and Lisa are making their first appearance in Lalla Aicha Tour School, although this is far from their first taste of action on the LET circuit.
Leona finished T18th on her professional LET debut in the Andalucia Costa del Sol Open de Espana two weeks ago, but her best result so far is second in the 2015 Ladies European Masters at The Buckinghamshire Golf Club near London, which is home to the LET’s headquarters.
The Irish twins hold the record as the youngest golfers to participate in an LET event, as they were aged just 12 years and six months when they made their debut in the 2007 Northern Ireland Ladies Open at Hilton Templepatrick Hotel & Country Club as amateurs. They are now 24. They have since also both played in a number of Irish Opens.
Both Leona and Lisa represented Europe in the 2008 Junior Ryder Cup, the 2009 and 2011 PING Junior Solheim Cup and have represented GB&I in the Vagliano Trophy and Curtis Cup. Leona, who holds the record length of time as number one on the Women’s World Amateur Golf Ranking, also represented Ireland in the Espirito Santo Trophy. Lisa caddied for Leona in the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, when Leona finished 21st overall and was the leading amateur.
They attended Duke University in the United States and turned professional on June 5, 2018, signing to Niall Horan’s management agency, Modest! Golf. They made their pro debut in the ShopRite LPGA Classic, where Leona finished 15th and then played in an event on the Symetra Tour, where Leona finished in third place.
There is no doubt that they have developed into exceptional talents and Leona said: “The timing of the Spanish event was really good for me, as I had spent a lot of time in the United States. It was a great event and nice to get some competitive rounds in. I’ve been working on a few things over the last week at home in Cavan. It’s nice to be back in Europe and closer to home.
“It’s my first time in Morocco and I feel good about my game and like the course. I think there’ll be a premium on good iron play, so I’ll be looking to give myself as many birdies as possible.”
Lisa said: “I’ve been at home practising to get ready for this and it would be nice to play in Europe next year, together with Leona. We got a taste of it as amateurs as we received several invites, so I’m hoping this week goes as well as possible and we get through to the final stage.”
As ever, the Maguire twins are looking to push each other on to success with the same goal of reaching the highest level in women’s professional golf, with next year’s Solheim Cup within sight.
Leona begins play from the first tee at 9.50am local time, while Lisa starts at the same time from the 10th tee.