Photograph courtesy of Tristan Jones/LET
England’s Meghan MacLaren held her overnight lead to win the Women’s New South Wales Open and claim her first Ladies European Tour title at Coffs Harbour Golf Club this afternoon.
MacLaren, 23, from Northamptonshire, carded a level par final round in hot and humid conditions to finish on 10-under-par at Coffs Harbour Golf Club.
LET rookies Casey Danielson from the United States, Marita Engzelius from Norway and Silvia Bañon from Spain finished 2 shots behind MacLaren at 8 under par.
MacLaren’s first Ladies European Tour win comes in just her 11th event, she has however 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 bounced back with a birdie at the ninth to take a four-shot lead into the back nine holes.
Danielson started the day at 2 under par and 8 shots off the lead and started quickly making four birdies on the front nine and another at the 12th to jump to the pointy end of the leaderboard. However, the young American could not make any further headway and set the clubhouse lead at 8 under par after shooting a final round 66.
Engzelius, a former Symetra Tour player competing in only her second LET event, also had a level par round featuring a bogey at the seventh and a birdie at the 11th, and second-year professional Bañon had a steady round of three-under, but neither player could put enough pressure on the Englishwoman and two strokes was the closest they came all day.
MacLaren gave the chasing pack a glimpse of hope when she stumbled slightly, three-putting the 13th and dropping a further shot at the 17 hole after missing the green but a par at the final hole sealed the victory.
Maclaren was clearly delighted with her victory “It feels incredible. I didn’t think those words would be coming out of my mouth so soon!” said MacLaren, who thanked her dad, Staysure Tour CEO David MacLaren, for carrying the bag over the weekend.
“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.
“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."
“I struggled a little bit out here in Australia and had a few ups and downs with my game, but you only have to look at the pictures back home in England to know that that’s not the place to be. The course set-up every single week over the last few weeks has been fantastic. Both the LET and the ALPG have done a fantastic job.”
New South Welshwoman Sarah Kemp was the leading Australian player this week, finishing in a tie for fifth place at 7 under par with Sweden’s Camilla Lennarth, Germany’s Olivia Cowan, and Lydia Hall of Wales. Australia's Rebecca Artis finished a shot further back in a tie for 9th place with Swede Daniela Holmqvist Austrian Sarah Schober, after a disappointing final hole double bogey denied her a top 3 finish.
The Women’s New South Wales Open was the fourth and final event co-sanctioned between ALPG and the LET in a five-week Australian swing.
While the Ladies European Tour now heads to South Africa for the Investec South African Women’s Open in Cape Town the ALPG heads north to Yamba GC where the 2018 Club car Series resumes at the BWAC Regional Employment Pro-am on Tuesday 6th March.
FAST FACTS: Women’s NSW Open Golf Championship
Tournament website: www.womensnswopen.com.au
Host Venue: Coffs Harbour Golf Club
Date: 1-4 March 2018
Format: 72-hole Stroke Play Championship
Field Size: 138 players
Total Prize Pool: AUD $150,000
2006: Joanne Mills
2008: Dame Laura Davies (ENG)
2009-2010: Sarah Oh (NSW)
2011: Caroline Hedwall (SWE)
2012: Lydia Ko (am) (NZL)
2013: Caroline Hedwall (SWE)
2014: Joanna Klatten (FRA)
2015: Holly Clyburn (ENG)
The Women’s NSW Open is supported by the NSW Government via its tourism and major events agency, Destination NSW.
Final results and prizemoney can be found HERE
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