Meghan MacLaren agonisingly missed out on a victory that would have been applauded throughout the sporting world as a place in the record books went instead to Daan Huizing.
The flying Dutchman denied MacLaren by coming out on top in a thrilling last-day battle in the ground-breaking Jordan Mixed Open, in which players from the Ladies European Tour, Challenge Tour and Staysure (Senior) Tour battled it out for the same prize.
MacLaren started the final circuit at Ayla Golf Club with a two-shot lead and was on course for victory when she doubled that advantage by picking up two birdies in the opening three holes. The 23-year-old from Northamptonshire was still in the driving seat at the turn but, after starting for home by dropping three shots in two holes, she was caught by Huizing with six holes to play.
The birdies that MacLaren had made until that point dried up and, helped by gains at the 12th, 13th and 16th, Huizing eventually came out on top by two shots as he finished with an 18-under-par 200 total. “It was a great battle,” said Huizing, a former St Andrews Links trophy winner. “I think this event is a great initiative. It’s a different vibe and very special to be the first winner and I hope it’s something that can be continued in the future.”
That seems likely given that the number of players to make the cut from each of the three tours was well matched – 20 from the LET, 25 from the Challenge Tour and 21 from the Staysure Tour. In addition, the final group was composed of a competitor from each of the circuits, Huizing and MacLaren being joined by Paul Streeter.
For MacLaren, it wasn’t the end she’d hoped for after following two 65s with a 72, but it was a splendid effort nonetheless by the double medallist in last year’s European Team Championships at Gleneagles.
“I’m obviously pretty disappointed not to win this week, having been in such a good position, but it was still an honour to be here and represent women’s golf alongside two other great tours,” she said.
A closing 65 lifted Calum Hill into a share of 11th spot alongside Scott Henry (70).