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June 6, 2018
Galloway, New Jersey
THE MODERATOR: Welcome to the 2018 ShopRite LPGA Classic presented by Acer. We're joined today by the Maguire twins, Leona and Lisa. You guys switched up on me. I'm glad you wore different colors.
Lisa and Leona received sponsor invitations to the ShopRite Classic. It is your first event as professional golfers, so congratulations.
PLAYERS: Thank you.
THE MODERATOR: How often do you guys get mixed up? That's got to be my first question.
LEONA MAGUIRE: Quite a lot. I think as people get to know us they start to notice the differences. Definitely in college we got mixed up all the time. Friends, professors.
Our parents do know the difference. They've always known the difference. Our younger brother knows the difference and our go friends do. It's definitely a challenge.
THE MODERATOR: You try to wear different colors often so that people can kind of distinguish you?
LEONA MAGUIRE: We try to help people out. We play a trick every once in a while, but for the most part we're pretty good.
THE MODERATOR: How does it feel to be playing in your first event as professionals. Start with Lisa.
LISA MAGUIRE: I mean, it's an incredible experience. I know we are both very grateful to ShopRite for this opportunity.
College golf was obviously an amazing four years, but we're both very excited to kind of start this new journey and and start it together.
We've got some amazing sponsors on board with KPMG, Allianz, Puma, and Ping. So we're really excited for what lies ahead. It's a great way to start this week.
THE MODERATOR: Leona?
LEONA MAGUIRE: Yeah, it's been a long time coming. I've waited to turn pro since we were little kids. This first week at ShopRite, couldn't really ask for a better start. Seems like there is a good Irish contingent here in New Jersey. We've already met a few.
Yeah, very grateful to all the people at ShopRite for the opportunity to make our start here, and to KPMG. To have a world-class partner like that is very special to start off our careers.
Again to Allianz and Puma and Ping. Yeah, couldn't really ask for much more.
THE MODERATOR: You're already sporting all the logos. That's great. You also signed with a new management company. Talk a little bit about them.
LEONA MAGUIRE: Yeah, I think it's great to be part of the Modest! golf team and to be the first Irish players and female players is something very special. They're quite a unique company. Obviously have strong ties to Ireland, which is really nice. We're both incredibly proud of our Irish roots.
They're a young company, ambitious just like us, and we're excited to embark on this new journey. To have Niall on board as well is something that adds that little extra boost to it.
THE MODERATOR: For those that don't know, Niall Horan owns the management company, right?
LEONA MAGUIRE: I think so.
THE MODERATOR: I think that's right. He tweeted out today to millions and millions of people about you guys joining the team. That was fantastic. Couple weeks ago you were in the NCAAs, and now you're here as professional golfers. What's it been like? Obviously a whirlwind past couple weeks since ending your collegiate career and now.
LEONA MAGUIRE: Yeah, it's been a quick transition. Went from Stillwater a few weeks ago, obviously wrapped up our careers with Duke there. We had an incredible four years. It's been exciting trying to get all the pieces put together and ready to go this week.
Obviously Modest! has been a huge part of it, trying to get everything sort of in place in this quick turnaround. Again, our sponsors as well. I know there has been a lot of emails and a lot of phone calls back and forth. I think everybody is just really excited.
It's kind of little surreal that we'll be teeing it up as professionals for the first time on Friday.
THE MODERATOR: Lisa, what was it like to be able to play at Duke University with your sister? Obviously you grew up playing together, but to go to the same school and compete and play really well at a place like Duke...
LISA MAGUIRE: Like I said before, Duke was an incredible experience. It was incredible opportunity for both of us. To be able to share that journey together was even better.
Duke just gave us so many different experiences. We made so many friends, a family for a lifetime. Obviously the team was incredibly successful over the four years, so it was really nice to be part of a really competitive program while having a lot of fun at the same time.
So really couldn't have asked for a better four years in that respect.
THE MODERATOR: Questions.
Q. For the both of you, you played together four years at Duke, and now you get to take this tremendous career step together. What does mean to both of you?
LEONA MAGUIRE: Yeah, it's a very special opportunity. We've grown up together, playing together, practicing together, been best friends for a lifetime, I guess, both on and off the course.
So it was very special to share our four years at Duke, and even more special to get to make our first LPGA and professional start together. It's not something that a lot of sisters can say they've done.
Yeah, we've supported each other all the way throughout our careers, and this is just another step on the journey.
LISA MAGUIRE: Yeah, absolutely. I echo everything Leona said. Obviously we're a little ways away from home out here in the U.S., so it's nice we can support each on and have our won little bit of family when we don't have our family back home.
So we kind of joked when we were kids. Our dad always said when we with went to a tournament we had two chances to win instead of one, which is more than most people in the field had. So it's always nice to have that kind of support structure next to you every tournament that you go to.
Obviously our careers could take a little bit of a different journey along the way over the next couple years, but definitely really nice, and we're both very fortunate to kind of start it together here this week.
Q. For both of you, you mentioned, Leona, it's been a long time coming the decision to turn pro. This is a sport, and all sportspeople look to turn pro seemingly at the first moment they can. Why did you guys wait?
LEONA MAGUIRE: Yeah, I think Duke was a special place. I think to get a degree from a place like Duke and to be part of a team and a culture there, I think the experiences, the memories we made there will last a lifetime.
Obviously there are a lot of girls out here that have turned pro at a young age. I think I had one of the most successful amateur careers out there and I've done it mostly my own way. I think maybe if I listened to a lot people I would've turned pro a long time ago and maybe wouldn't have had some of those experiences and memories.
So I think now is a good time for me. We get to do it together. I think all those experiences with a world-class degree in our back pocket and have some great sponsors on board and great management company, I think all the pieces are fitting together really nicely.
Q. Just wanted to ask you what the process was like to getting an exemption into this tournament, and going forward how is that process going to work? I think you get six sponsor exemptions maximum to LPGA events. How is that going to work out in the schedule? Trying to get into as many as you can? What's the future beyond this? Talk about the process the getting into this.
LEONA MAGUIRE: Yeah, I mean, we're both incredibly lucky to get sponsor invites into the ShopRite. All of the tournaments don't have that many invites to give to out, so for ShopRite to give two of them to us is incredibly generous.
Modest! have been fantastic in that regard. That's been a big part of the last few weeks and months, to try and secure as many invites as possible.
For me personally, I have a full Symetra Tour card, so the next few months and weeks I will be predominately focused on that to try to get my LPGA card for next season. Probably a few LPGA invites along the way, but predominantly focusing on the Symetra Tour for the near future.
LISA MAGUIRE: Yeah, obviously this week is great to get the invite from ShopRite, the two of us here together. I know Modest! have been working really hard especially on my behalf especially to secure more invites. Obviously I don't have the same sort of status as Leona does right now.
We've secured some Symetra Tour invites for the coming weeks, so I'm looking forward to playing in those, doing well in those, and securing more status kind of going forward.
Q. Have you had a chance to play the course yet? If so, what are your impressions of the course basically?
LEONA MAGUIRE: Yeah, we got out to play yesterday. Obviously it was quite windy. A little bit of Irish day out there I guess. Courses is in great shape. Really nice course. There is a good mix of holes, some short ones, some longer ones. I think the course will play a little differently depending on the wind.
Greens are poa greens, so you so they're a little bit interesting. They're quite soft. The rough is long. They've let the fescue grow up, so accuracy is going to be key, which is something I'm kind of glad about.
So lots of fairways and greens and hopefully roll in a few putts as the week goes on.
Q. Leona, you've competed in Curtis Cup, Olympics, LPGA majors, and you won the Women's British Amateur last year. How do those experiences help you now as you embark on a pro career? Do you put any pressure on yourself as far as expectations?
LEONA MAGUIRE: Yeah, I think any time you get to play in a big event with a quality field I think you learn. To have those experiences is something that's definitely going to help me as I make this transition. I've been fortunate on the back of the British Amateur win and to get to play in some majors, British and the U.S. Open.
I played with some of these girls before. I've got to test my game against them on some big golf courses as well. Any time you get to play with people that are better than you, always try to raise your standard. Sort of hope I've learned a lot from those experiences and time I played.
Sort of bring that on and keep trying to improve my game little by little.
Q. Leona, to talk about your sister, what would you say is her greatest strength as a person and golfer? Same question to Lisa.
LEONA MAGUIRE: Yeah, Lisa's resilience over the last few years has been pretty inspiring to me. I think there is no one that's worked harder in my eyes to sort of get back to where she was.
I mean, ultimately hard work is what you need to achieve at the top level of any sport. To have someone alongside me that's pushing me as hard as I can and knowing that she's doing the same, that's every day she's out there grinding out, chipping, putting, improving her swing, that's something that's been very inspiring to me.
Just seeing her attitude as well, never really giving up. I think that's something that is going to hold her in great stead for the years to come.
LISA MAGUIRE: I think what Leona has done over the last couple years has been great. Some people say it's easier to get to the top; hard to stay at the top.
I think Leona has proved how much her hard work, perseverance to stay at the top, to be at the top of the amateur world rankings for almost three years was incredible and a feat that nobody else has done yet.
So it'll definitely be interesting to see how she can progress through the pro rankings obviously starting at the bottom like we did in the amateur game and trying to work her way to the top. She's proved she's done it before, and I think she can do it again.
Q. How old were you guys when you started playing? What got you you started? Do you have any other family or friends here this week?
LEONA MAGUIRE: Yeah, we started when we were about ten or eleven years old. Growing up we played a lot of different sports. We were very involved in swimming. Lisa actually broke her elbow, and one of the doctors told dad it would be good to get her involved in a racquet sport to help her move.
Dad was an avid golfer. He'd been at us for a few years to go out. We were very fortunate to live right beside a golf course. They had a par-3 course, and we started there. Over the summer, we sort of bit by bit went out more and more and kind of snowballed from there I guess. Started winning a few times, and I guess we were hooked.
Q. Just a follow up on a question Mike had earlier. Leona, you gave your reasons for not turning pro earlier. How close did you come after maybe one of your Q schools to getting there?
LEONA MAGUIRE: Yeah, obviously it's very tempting any time you have a dream that you're very close to realizing. It was very tempting. I've been incredibly fortunate throughout my entire career to be surround by a lot of great people, starting with our family. Mom and dad have been tremendous support to both of us throughout our entire career and we owe them a lot.
Yeah, talked through with dad and my coach back at home, the coaches at Duke. Actually spoke to the athletic director at Duke, Mr. White, as well, and just talked through the pros and cons.
Sort of decided to make more of a bigger-picture approach. Obviously it was tempting to get straight to the LPGA, more of a short-term thing. To have my degree from Duke will mean a lot to me in years to come.
The LPGA is always going to be there. I am excited now that that's finally there, and 100% glad that I made the right decision. I've always said going to Duke was the best decision I made, and I am equally glad I stayed.
Q. What year was that?
LEONA MAGUIRE: That was 2016.
THE MODERATOR: You guys are obviously very supportive of one another. How competitive are you with each other? Lisa?
LISA MAGUIRE: Pretty competitive, yeah. I mean, on the golf course, just in life in general, I feel like we're pretty competitive.
Once it's over, we can kind of let it sit for a little bit until somebody brings it up again. There has been some interesting dinner conversations after tournaments, but we've never let it affect our friendship. We're still the best of friends.
We've been roommates and housemates for a long time now. We have learned to leave the competition at the door and learned how to get on at the same time.
THE MODERATOR: Speaking again to your hats, being a part of KPMG is a super big deal. Stacy Lewis, Mariah Stackhouse, Kl√É¬°ra Spilkov√É¬°, and you guys. Obviously Phil Mickelson, too. Just what does it mean to you to be under that KPMG umbrella?
LEONA MAGUIRE: Yeah, it's a huge honor, a privilege to be associated with a global company like KPMG. A lot of people coming out of college and making that jump struggle to get sponsors. To have a company with the integrity and that believes in us is a huge confidence boost for us.
It's great to be part of an organization, a team that shares the same values. KPMG have done a tremendous job of supporting the women's game in the recent years with the KPMG Women's Championship and their Women's Leadership Summit.
It's a special team to be a part of. We're incredibly lucky and excited to join Phil and Stacy and Klara and obviously Paul back in Ireland and all the team.
THE MODERATOR: You had the chance to represent your country in the Olympics. I think both of you have had the chance to represent Ireland. Just on the professional level, what is it like to take that step and be representatives of Ireland on the LPGA or Symetra Tour and the rest of your career?
LEONA MAGUIRE: Yeah, I mean, obviously Olympics is the biggest sporting event in the world, and that was just an incredible experience, something I'll never forget.
To have Lisa right there beside me as well was very special. Any time you get to represent your country on a global stage is a great honor. Golf is an individual sport, and any time you're representing your country you get to be part of something bigger than yourself.
Ireland has been a huge part of our lives. We've been over in the U.S. for a couple years now, but we always enjoy coming back. I think the Irish people in general are huge supporters of golf and sport in general.
It's been incredible to see the success of our guys out on the PGA TOUR and winning majors in recent years. Hopefully we can sort of be the first on the LPGA and get a little bit of a pipeline going.
LISA MAGUIRE: Yeah, obviously women's golf in Ireland is growing and growing over the last number of years. Of course anything Leona and I can do to grow the game back home, especially on the women's side grow the numbers of girls getting into women's golf is something very important to us.
Yeah, we looked up to a lot of guys, to Padraig, to Paul, Shane, when we were growing up and kind of coming up. It'll be pretty cool if the girls, the six, seven, eight year old girls could look up to people like us in a couple years. I think that would be pretty nice to see.
Q. Do you know any of them on a personal level, the male golfers?
LEONA MAGUIRE: Yeah, we've been fortunate to meet a number of them on different occasions. Paul McGinley was our team captain at Rio, and he's been great to sort of talk through things and give a helping hand, as has Padraig as well.
A major champion willing to give up their time and offer advice is something very special and cool. So, yeah, the Irish community in general is pretty close-knit and everyone is willing to lend a helping hand to see the next generation come through.
Hopefully we can build that on the women's side as well.
THE MODERATOR: Yeah, very cool. Thank you so much for joining us, and good luck this week.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports