No stranger to elite competition, Mission Inn Resort & Club crowned another champion when MJ Maguire of St. Petersburg, Fla., won the PGA TOUR Latinoamerica’s U.S. Qualifying Tournament on Jan. 12, earning a full exemption for 2018 on the international tour.
Maguire, 25, overcame near-disaster midway through his round – after a 22-minute rain delay – to post a final-round 69, 3-under par, for a four-day total of 277 and three-stroke victory.
The PGA TOUR visit was the first of several significant golf events at Mission Inn & Resort in 2018, when the two golf courses – El Campeón and Las Colinas – will host the NCAA Women’s Division II Golf Championship, among other collegiate competitions. Mission Inn is marking its 22nd consecutive year as host of a major or regional NCAA golf championship.
The tour pros did not exactly light up the scoreboard on Mission Inn’s historic El Campeón golf course. Despite the rain-softened conditions – which allowed players to lift, clean and replace on the fairways and greens – only three players going as low as 66, 6-under par, all in the second round. And while 11-under was the winning total, only 19 players in the field of 101 finished under par.
Maguire was one of only two players to break par all four rounds (69-71-68-69). Derek Bard, who finished sixth at 6-under, was the other (71-70-70-71).
A two-time all-American at the University of North Florida, Maguire began his final round on the back nine of El Campeón with a pair of birdies and added another to go to 3-under for the day.
After the rain delay, Maguire returned with a bogey at No. 1 and double-bogey on the par-3 second hole (his 11th of the day). But he recovered with a birdie on No. 3, strung together some pars and stuck the dagger in the field with closing birdies on No. 8 and No. 9.
The Mission Inn Resort & Club tournament is one of four qualifiers for the international developmental tour that provides playing opportunities for up-and-coming players. The others are in Mexico, Colombia and Argentina.