Weird! One of the sports stars of the year still hasn’t used his new PGA Tour pin

There’s a new orange pin at the top of the computer at Leona Maguire’s living room in Alexandria. The green sparkling at the end of a California course isn’t magic — it’s a set…

Weird! One of the sports stars of the year still hasn’t used his new PGA Tour pin

There’s a new orange pin at the top of the computer at Leona Maguire’s living room in Alexandria. The green sparkling at the end of a California course isn’t magic — it’s a set of golf balls that the two-time Ohio high school state champion put in a deep bag. Maguire’s new assignment: perfect every one of them.

“I went to the range and just hit balls with my dad,” Maguire said. “I literally hit balls for 20 minutes nonstop. And then when I got home, my mom told me I had won the pin.”

Under the rules of golf, a player in his first year on tour can purchase and keep a special piece of equipment in memory of a late loved one. Maguire was raised by his parents in Cuyahoga Falls and played for Cuyahoga Falls High before heading off to Division I Youngstown State. He shot an NCAA-best 72.2 strokes per round to win the 2000 NCAA individual title.

“At the time, the only person I could think of was my best friend and teammate at Youngstown State,” Maguire said. “My brother. My best friend for life. And I wanted to do something to honor him.”

After the 2017 PGA Tour season — as young professionals such as Maguire gained more professional prominence — Web.com rules changed, allowing players to purchase pins to commemorate other players. Maguire, who turned 26 this month, came up with the idea.

“I didn’t plan for it to be an issue, to win this pin,” Maguire said. “But it’s just crazy how it’s taken off. All my friends and family have been sending me crazy messages about it, and it’s crazy how much more I’ve enjoyed it because of it.”

It was only after beating Brooke Henderson at the 2017 LPGA Volvik Championship that Maguire became an instantly recognizable player. Despite earning his first career win, including a win that kept her on tour, she was only the third youngest to have won the tournament in the past 19 years.

However, Maguire’s 29th-place finish at the tournament was the second best finish by an American. He became quickly identified as a LPGA Tour star and the Bay Hill Invitational announced that Maguire would replace longtime pro Jennifer Edwards for that tournament.

It was only after Maguire shot a 92 on the TPC Sawgrass in March that his relationship with Kayla Paul became public. Paul posted an Instagram photo of Maguire, a USGA member, sitting next to her father. Paul also posted a video about how he wanted to champion Maguire in their relationship.

“I had no idea,” Maguire said. “That whole thing was not planned or thought of when I started playing golf. All of a sudden, things started coming my way.

“I’ve had a couple of missteps in my life. But it’s always good to be remembered and have that respect in your country and hear a story, whether it’s good or bad, it’s always good. And it’s always fun to be part of a story.”

Maguire played three events in May before the Solheim Cup in Germany, where he spent most of his time driving to the fields and clubs. He started third in the captain’s picks and was defeated in singles by Caroline Masson.

“It was obviously a lot of fun,” Maguire said. “And I really learned a lot. I really admire those players.”

Though this was Maguire’s first appearance in a World Cup of Golf or Solheim Cup, he already has been in two women’s professional events, including World Cup of Golf. In his first match with Lexi Thompson, Maguire was victorious with a birdie on the final hole to claim a 1-up victory.

Maguire’s pick in the Solheim Cup was Spain’s Carlota Ciganda, who started the final day leading the tournament by one shot. Ciganda lost in a sudden-death playoff to Madelene Sagstrom of Sweden to give Maguire his first win in a three-year career that now includes three Web.com Tour victories, his six-tournament victory streak and his well-received Pin.

Leave a Comment