Gabrielle Macdonald swaps Tynecastle for Kenya to start LET career

When she’s not playing golf, Gabrielle Macdonald grabs every available opportunity to cheer on her beloved Hearts. “I love it,” she said of attending games. “It’s my favourite thing to do outside golf.”

The 28-year-old enjoyed some hospitality on her latest visit to Tynecastle for the recent win over Motherwell, but her focus is now back on the sport involving a little white ball.

Finding herself nearly 5,000 miles from Gorgie Road, Macdonald is among four Scots teeing up in this week’s Magical Kenya Ladies Open, which marks the start of the 2022 Ladies European Tour season.

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For Macdonald, it’s her first event on the circuit since becoming a new card holder on the back of two wins last season securing her graduation from the LET Access Series.

Gabrielle Macdonald is among four Scots teeing up in this week's Magical Kenya Ladies Open - the opening event of the 2022 LET season - at Vipino Ridge. Picture: Tristan Jones

“When I won for the second time last year, I was happy to know that I was going to get the opportunity to move up the ladder,” said the former Scottish Women’s champion, who, having been a product of the East Lothian club along with Grant Forrest, is proudly flying the Craigelaw flag in her new workplace,

“It would have been great to turn pro and get straight on the LET, but, at the same time, it’s been good that my hard work has paid off and hopefully I can keep improving.”

Macdonald, who is joined in the line up at Vipingo Ridge by Michele Thomson, Laura Beveridge and Heather MacRae, hasn’t played competitively since the end of October.

“It’s hard when it’s so cold and the weather is poor here,” she said of the difficulty she’d encountered trying to get her game back up to speed again. “But I was in Dubai in January and that allowed me to get back into a rhythm and I’ve tried to keep that going since coming home.”

Part of that trip to the UAE was spent with Dean Robertson and his Stirling University golf scholars as they enjoyed a winter training camp at Al Ain Golf Club, where former Duddingston assistant pro Tom Buchanan is now running the entire operation.

“Dean is great at organising stuff like that as he’s got a lot of energy and it was great,” said Macdonald, who did her geography degree at St Andrews. “We had a four-day competition and that was good fun.

“They had a few of their old students who have now turned pro. Hannah McCook was there, as was Tara Mactaggart and I asked if I could join them for a few days to get back feeling competitive.”

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Macdonald is starting her LET career at a good time, with the 2022 schedule comprising 31 events in 21 countries. “That’s great,” she said. “Knowing I will get into most events is good as well and it will be pretty much full on from March onwards.

“I obviously want to keep my card but, at the same time, I want to aim as high as I can. I managed to get myself in contention a few times last year and got such a buzz out of it, so I’d love to be in that position again this year.

“I’d also like to try and get into the AIG Women’s Open at Muirfield and that can be achievable if I’m doing well in the order of merit.”

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