BATTLE-HARDENED by her jousts with Scotland’s home-based male professionals in events like the Northern Open, Heather MacRae made an encouraging start in her bid to earn a place on the Ladies European Tour next season.
Playing in one of two pre-qualifying events running concurrently in Morocco, the Gleneagles Hotel-attached player opened with a three-under-par 69 at the Amelkis Course in Marrakech.
It earned her a share of fifth spot, three shots behind Swedish pacesetter Jacqueline Hedwall, but it was a tough first day for Lauren Mackin and Laura Murray, the two other Scots among the hopefuls at that venue.
Mallorca-based Mackin opened with a 74 to sit in joint-39th while Alford amateur Murray, who was going along nicely until she had back-to-back double-bogeys at her tenth and 11th holes, is outside the top 60 after she signed for a 77.
At Al Maaden, the other venue, Murray’s fellow amateur, Kelsey MacDonald, opened with a 72, leaving the Nairn Dunbar player tied for 31st, while Gemma Webster (75) is tied for 50th.
Meanwhile, Carly Booth staged a superb second-round fightback to survive the halfway cut in the Omega Dubai Ladies Masters at The Emirates.
The two-times winner on the LET this season shot a five-under-par 67 – 11 better than her opening effort – to just make it through as the cut-off came at one-over.
A second-successive 74 left Vikki Laing three shots outside the qualifying mark, while Clare Queen (78 for 155) and Kylie Walker (79 for 159) also suffered early exits.
Shanshan Feng, the world No 6 from China, is four shots clear at the top of the leaderboard after the joint overnight pacesetter added a 65 to her first-round 66.