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Maguire And Meadow Reflect On 'Incredible Week' At Tokyo 2020

Maguire And Meadow Reflect On 'Incredible Week' At Tokyo 2020

It was a strong Olympics for Team Ireland's golfers, as Stephanie Meadow and Leona Maguire followed up the men's team with a strong finish in the women's tournament.

Meadow finished just four shots off a medal in seventh place on -12, after a strong -5 final round, while teammate Maguire finished in tied 23rd on -5.

Meadow and Maguire feeling good after Tokyo 2020

Though there was an outside hope that either Meadow or Maguire might work their way into the medals, the mood after the final round was not one of disappointment. Meadow, in particular, was thrilled with her performance in the final round, though she said she was disappointed she had left shots out there earlier in the week.

Very happy. It's a very solid day for me, I had lots of looks at it and made some putts - it's nice to finish with a par on the last after a poor drive. I mean it was an incredible week.

I don't know what it is, I can't get the front nine going that much but was happy enough to get two today at the end of the front nine. If I had had that at the start of the week it might have been a little bit different but still, hey, incredible experience.

Hats off to everyone involved, despite COVID it was still one of the greatest experiences of my life.

Meadow also thanked all of the Irish supporters back home, and said she had been touched by the contact from old friends throughout the Games.

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From a golfing point of view, the most important thing for Meadow were the signs that herself and Maguire have developed their game, with a finish of 7th and 23rd in Tokyo comparing favourably to a 21st and 31st in Rio.

I think the biggest thing is the recognition from home. So many people have called or texted, people I haven't heard from in years. People from Belfast High who I haven't talked to since I was 13 are Tweeting about it. I think the Olympics is such a grand stage and it's an opportunity to grow the game and I think we've done that.

Five years ago in Rio we finished 20th and 30th, and I think we were pretty okay with that. Now, I think we've come pretty far.

Stephanie Meadow may have been happier with her performance in Tokyo than teammate Leona Maguire, who explained to RTÉ after the final round that she felt she had given herself work to do on the back nine on the final day.

Nonetheless, Maguire was proud of her recovery, and said that she felt medals would have been possible with a bit more consistency during the tournament.

I feel a lot better than I did yesterday. It was a bit of an up and down day that got off to a bit of a rough start, but I was proud of how I hung in and played some great golf on the back nine. I'll take the positives out of this week - there were flashes of gold medal golf, but not enough of it.

That's the Olympics, don't give up and keep trying 'til the very end. I feel like I did that this week, even though I didn't probably have my best golf. I'm proud to call myself a two-time Olympian.

We got a few bad breaks this week, there were a few balls that were...a foot here or a foot there. But that's sport, that's golf, that's life. It's still been a great week, I've really enjoyed being in the Village and cheering on the other athletes.

Maguire has been motoring on with an excellent season, with a -10 final round at the Evian Championship the highlight so far, as she finished tied sixth in the major. She now looks ahead to two weeks in Scotland, with the Scottish Open immediately followed by another major at the Open Championship.

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Stephanie Meadow and Leona Maguire of Ireland fist bump after round three of the women's golf at Tokyo 2020. Photo by Brendan Moran/Sportsfile

Stephanie Meadow and Leona Maguire's impressive showing at the Olympics comes off the back of a similarly strong showing from the men's pair, with Rory McIlroy only narrowly losing out on a bronze medal in a playoff. Maguire said that the good done for the game in Ireland by the Tokyo Games cannot be underestimated.

Obviously the boys had a really good chance, it was a shame to see Rory miss out last week in that playoff. Hopefully we've recruited a few new fans, new golfers this week.

Maguire finished by looking ahead to the close of the LPGA season. Though it has been an impressively consistent year for the Cavan native, she is yet to take a win on the tour - but she does not feel that a first place is far off.

I mean I played some of the best golf of my life last week at Evian with a 61 and tried to treat this as a "bonus" week - whatever happened happened. There's another major coming up in a couple of weeks time.

It's close, I just need a few things to sort of click together at the right time and keep working away. I've been fortunate to have a great team behind me this week.

My game's in really good shape. I'm really happy with how the year is going so far.

It's been a strong two weeks for Irish golf in Tokyo, and the performances of Stephanie Meadow and Leona Maguire will hopefully spur on another generation of Irish golfers. With the Paris Games only three years away, we can hope for another strong showing from the Ireland Golf team.

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