ATLANTA – Perhaps no one at the East Lake Cup needed a win worse than Lisa Maguire.
The Duke junior – whose twin sister, Leona, is the No. 1-ranked amateur in the world – has been floundering for the past three years. When she arrived on campus, in August 2014, she and Blue Devils coach Dan Brooks embarked on a massive swing overhaul. Despite Maguire’s decorated junior résumé that included 16 amateur titles and a top-50 world ranking, Brooks knew his incoming freshman’s inside-out, power-sapping swing was in dire need of a rebuild.
“I was watching a game that August and September that isn’t going to be on the LPGA tour,” Brooks recalled Wednesday. “It’s not going there. It’s going to struggle on the Symetra Tour, maybe, and it’s going to fizzle out and she’s going to do something else. That’s what I’m watching.
“I could have squeezed a lot of good golf out of that in college, but she would have been at a dead end in four years.”
What followed was agonizing for both player and coach. While Leona earned NCAA player of the year honors in 2014-15, Lisa didn’t shoot in the 60s her entire freshman season, finishing no better than 40th in her last eight events. The low point came at the 2015 NCAA Championship, where she shot four consecutive rounds in the 80s and finished 83rd out of 84 players, at 51 over par.
“It’s been tough for me to watch her go through it,” Leona said, “but it’s been tougher for her to go through it herself. I try to be as supportive as I can and help her any way I can.”
Brooks tried everything to get Maguire back on track, watching old videos of her swing and consulting with professional coaches. Nothing worked. What looked perfect on the range immediately dissolved once she got onto the course, leading to only three appearances during her sophomore season (including two starts counting only as an individual).
“Your heart breaks,” Brooks said, “because you know what she puts in to have it not travel to the course and not work out. You know what you’re feeling, it’s three times as much for her.”