WHEN a 23 year old says her golf is the best she’s played “for a long, long time” you know things are getting serious.
That was certainly the case for England’s Meghan MacLaren who won the 2018 Women’s NSW Open at Coffs Harbour Golf Club on the weekend.
A large flock of Kookaburras gathered at the 18th hole certainly seemed to approve of MacLaren’s debut European Ladies Tour victory, doing their noisy best to drown out the presentation proceedings.
There was also a very healthy human crowd, impressive for a regional NSW event, who were also appreciative of the action, with golfers from across the globe fighting out the ALPG co-sanctioned tournament.
Despite a number of strong challenges, MacLaren held on to her two stroke overnight lead to finish with a par 71 on 10-under for the tournament.
LET rookies Casey Danielson from the United States and Marita Engzelius from Norway ended two back alongside Silvia Bañon from Spain.
Australia’s best were Sarah Kemp (68) who finished T5 at 7-under and Rebecca Artis (70) who was T9 at 5-under.
Artis, who played in the final group alongside McLaren, was putting in a strong performance but had just a couple of costly errors at crucial times to drop out of contention. The Coonabarabran local will play her debut season on the LPGA this year.
MacLaren’s first LET win comes in her 11th event and her second year overall on tour. She had previously won two titles on the LET Access Series as well as the circuit’s order of merit in 2017.
The second-year professional looked on course for the win after making two birdies in her first three holes to build a four-stroke advantage. Although she bogeyed the seventh, she made another gain at the ninth, to hold four-shot lead through the turn.
“This is the best I’ve played for a long, long time,” an elated MacLaren said after her win.
“All parts of my game were good.
“To go out there today and to still feel in control of my ball striking and all of that, it gave me a little bit of margin for error towards the end,” she said.
It feels incredible to be a tour winner
The young Englishwoman, buoyed after her dad arrived to be on her bag for her final rounds, said it felt “incredible to be a tour winner”.
“I didn’t think those words would be coming out of my mouth so soon,” she said.
“I played well in the few events that I played last year but you’ve got to be patient.
“It can take some players years before they get over the line. To do it now gives me a lot of confidence,” she beamed.
MacLaren joins a select group of golfers to win the NSW Open including former world number one players, Dame Laura Davies (2008) and Lydia Ko (2012). When MacLaren was told of the company she now keeps, she was shocked.
“I had no idea, that’s incredible,” she said.
——–PHOTO GALLERY TO COME————