GALLOWAY, N.J. — The Maguire twins from Ireland made sure there was no confusion Wednesday when they arrived at the ShopRite LPGA Classic press room for their first media appearance as professional golfers.
Leona Maguire wore a blue, long-sleeved pullover with white pants and matching cap. Her sister, Lisa, was dressed in a red sweater with black pants and cap.
"We try to help people out," Leona Maguire said. "We'll play a trick every once in a while, but for the most part, we're pretty good."
Likewise, there is little confusion when identifying who stands out on the golf course. Leona Maguire is coming off an incredible career at Duke, during which she made four all-America teams, won two national player-of-the-year awards, compiled the lowest career stroke average in NCAA history, and spent a record 135 weeks as the world's No. 1-ranked women's amateur.
Lisa Maguire, while she doesn't have the eye-popping resume of her sister, has been ranked as high as 35th in the world and played in the Curtis Cup (2010) before her sister. She also played at Duke and contributed to the squad that made this year's NCAA championships but was eliminated in the quarterfinals.
Now, Leona and Lisa Maguire are taking the next career step together, beginning Friday at the Stockton Seaview Hotel and Golf Club.
"It's a very special opportunity," Leona Maguire said. "We've grown up together, playing together, practicing together, being best friends for a lifetime. So, it was very special to share our four years at Duke, and even more special to get our first LPGA and professional start together. It's not something that a lot of sisters can say they've done."
While at Duke, Leona Maguire twice competed at the LPGA Qualifying Tournament and did well enough to earn LPGA status, but only if she turned pro. The first time, she said she was tempted to make the move and consulted with her father and her coaches.
"We talked through the pros and cons, and I sort of decided to make more of a bigger-picture approach," she said. "Obviously, it was tempting to get straight to the LPGA, more of a short-term thing. But 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 here, and 100 percent glad that I made the right decision."
The interest in the twins has increased. They have been signed by Modest! Golf, a management company created in part by Irish singer Niall Horan. They will represent KPMG, the global professional-services firm that counts Phil Mickelson and Stacy Lewis as golf ambassadors.
Leona Maguire said the twins started in golf at "10 or 11 years old." They are competitive both on the golf course and with "just life in general," Lisa Maguire said.
"There have been some interesting dinner conversations after tournaments," Lisa Maguire said, "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. We have learned to leave the competition at the door."
The twins will try to gain sponsor's exemptions into LPGA Tour events; they are allowed a maximum of six each. Leona Maguire has status on the Symetra Tour, where the top 10 players on the money list at season's end are promoted to the LPGA Tour, and will focus on that.