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March 22, 2023

Leona Maguire

Gold Canyon, Arizona, USA

Superstition Mountain Golf and Country Club

Press Conference

THE MODERATOR: Okay, welcome back to the virtual interview room and the in-person media center here with our defending champion, Leona Maguire.

Leona, good to be back in the States, I'm sure. What are you looking forward to for this event, first event as defending champion?

LEONA MAGUIRE: Yeah, it's a cool experience so far. Definitely a lot of -- been a busy week, a lot extra things to do, but a good problem to have I suppose. And nice to be here in the desert. Very different to Fort Myers last year.

Looking forward to a great week. Played really nice golf good Asia, so hopefully I can build on that momentum this week.

Q. Yeah, whole different course, whole different environment. What was some of the biggest differences and how do you think that will affect your play at all as defending champion?

LEONA MAGUIRE: Yeah, last year I think at Crown Colony it was really windy all week and you had to t plot your way around the golf course, stay really patient. This week may get windy; not really sure yet.

It's definitely firm and fast so far. We'll see what happens with will rain. I think course management is going to be a big thing this week. It's pretty wide open off the tee. You can hit it pretty much anywhere, but around the greens it's going to be tricky.

So hitting a lot of greens and trying to take advantage of them. The greens are rolling pure, so trying to hole as many putts as possible this week.

Q. The Drive On Championship was your first win on the LPGA. Can you take us back to that moment when you won, what sort of things you remember from last year, and how it's been a year out?

LEONA MAGUIRE: Yeah, I mean, the year has kind of flown by. Doesn't seem that long ago. I think I went into that week and it was a second event the year last year. Went in with really no expectations and got -- just played really well. Had a solid all week. Didn't do a lot of things wrong. Hit my irons really close, gave myself a lot of chances all week. Didn't look at a lot of leaderboards.

Just tried to post as low a score as I could every day. Yeah, I think on Sunday I remember looking at the scoreboard on 16 and I was -- I think I was 4 ahead at that point and was shock and just tried to par my way in from there to finish it off.

Q. Going into this first event back in the States, how good does it feel to be back in the States and sort of getting into the swing of the season after a little bit of an everywhere start?

LEONA MAGUIRE: Yeah, I mean, clocked up a few miles to start the year for sure. Yeah, it's nice to be back. We got the West Coast Swing coming up. Been a little stop-start to start the year, but, yeah, this week in Arizona, next week in LA, and then getting ready for Chevron in a few weeks' time.

That's where the focus is, and just try get a few solid of weeks of momentum. When it's been stop-start it's hard to get momentum, so trying to bring those sort of things we've been working on in practice to tournament golf.

Q. Can you tell us a couple of those things? As you said, you've been playing good golf. What has been really coming together in practice?

LEONA MAGUIRE: Yeah, I think I've been working on my irons a lot, dialing those in. Wedges. Played really, really nice golf in Thailand and Singapore; just didn't hole quite enough putts in Singapore.

So a lot of focus on my putting in the last few weeks, just fine tuning everything. Nothing glaring, but just trying to make sure everything is as good as possible heading into these weeks.

Q. You mentioned The Chevron Championship coming up. What are some of the things you're hoping to achieve before that moment comes, and just looking ahead to the first major of the year how excited are you for that? It's in Texas now.

LEONA MAGUIRE: Yeah, it's a little different, a little later this year. Trying to get as much golf under my belt as possible before then.

I'm taking Hawaii off. Not going to Hawaii. Apart from that, get used to West Coast again, poana greens. I suppose the focus for them is more Pebble than Chevron, but we did play an event my senior year The Woodlands in Texas, so I've been there before, which is nice.

Yeah, I mean, just trying to put myself in position, move myself as high up the leaderboard each week as I can and put in those positions to be ready for Chevron.

Q. Back to this event, also at new destination. It's been a little rainy today. What were some of the things you've been seeing out there on the course, challenges you might see out there?

LEONA MAGUIRE: Yeah, I think yesterday we just chipped and putted around the front nine yesterday. It was crazy busy. I think the first day back at school, everybody was super keen and super eager to be out there hitting a million shots and a million chips and putts.

So I think it's very easy to get carried away on some of these weeks myself trying to do too much, so conserving energy and making sure you're prepared come Thursday is a big thing. Played at 7:30 this morning, which was nice. Got out there early this morning and got a good look at the golf course.

Actually played really different today than yesterday. The wind was the opposite direction, so I think that is going to be a big thing this week. Some of the holes are going to play completely different depending on what way the wind is.

It's firm and fast. If the pin's at the front you're going to have to bounce it short of the green and if it's back, you still have to feed the ball in there.

So a little bit of extra thinking required this week.

Q. It's weird seeing so many golfers out here. This is our first full-field event. How awesome is that just to see everybody out here again and also how competitive are you to want to beat like that many more people?

LEONA MAGUIRE: Yeah, CME was a limited field, Nona, Singapore, and Thailand, too. So haven't seen this many people in quite a while. Some of the girls I haven't seen since sort of October, November of last year. So nice to catch up with everybody and see what they've been doing ever the off-season.

So, yeah, like I said, it's like first day back at school again almost and everybody has new golf bags and new clothes and all the rest. Plenty to catch up on.

It's nice to see everybody excited and ready to go for the new season.

Q. What's your experience in the Phoenix area? How often have you been here? It's not usually this rainy. Just how do you like this area?

LEONA MAGUIRE: Yeah, we played the ASU event my freshman year in college. Pretty sure it was a million degrees and I was putting on sunscreen every two holes.

So this is a little bit different. I have plenty of friends in the Phoenix-Scottsdale area, so nice to catch up with them this week.

Yeah, it's a nice part of the world to be in. A lot greener than I expected, but hopefully we'll get some drier weather and warmer sort of weather over the next few days.

THE MODERATOR: Thank you so much.


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