Heather MacRae wins PGA title as she fights cancer

Heather MacRae with the trophy after winning the Women's PGA Professional Championship.
Heather MacRae with the trophy after winning the Women's PGA Professional Championship.
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Heather MacRae vindicated her brave decision to continue playing competitive golf as she fights cancer by winning the Women’s PGA Professional Championship for the second time in four years.

The 35-year-old, who is going in for an operation on 14 June after being diagnosed with cervical cancer following a routine screening, overcame feeling tired in the final few holes of the 36-hole event to claim her victory at Trentham Golf Club in Stoke-on-Trent.

MacRae, who comes from Dunblane and is attached to Stirling, carded two 72s for a two-under total, winning by two shots from English duo Suzanne Dickens and Ali Gray in a field that also included former Solheim Cup player and captain Alison Nicholas.

“I am absolutely delighted and amazed, I can’t quite believe it,” admitted MacRae of her success, which, in addition to a top prize worth £1,000, secured a spot in the first women’s PGA Cup in Texas in October.

MacRae, a former British Women’s Stroke-Play champion who regularly plays against her male PGA professionals on the Tartan Tour, was two shots off the lead after an opening effort that included five birdies

She then made three birdies in the opening six holes in the afternoon to storm into the lead before running up a double-bogey 6 at the ninth but came home in one-under, a birdie at the 14th coming in the middle of eight pars.

“I am so so tired,” she added, “but massive thanks to Craig Lee [her caddie for the event] for helping me over the line today. Nice to give my family something to smile about for a wee change.”

The success came a day after MacRae had teamed up with Lee, a former European Tour player, to qualify for the PGA Fourball Championship.

On the European Tour, in-form Bob MacIntyre led five Scots into the last 64 in the Belgian Knockout in Antwerp.The 22-year-old, who has finished runner-up in each of his last two starts on the European Tour, backed up an opening 66 with a 69 to progress comfortably on seven-under at Rinkven International.

Joining him in the knock-out phase are Ewen Ferguson, Richie Ramsay, David Law and Grant Forrest, the latter securing his place through a play-off.

Chris Paisley came home in 30 to sign for a second consecutive 65 as the Englishman secured top seeding on 12-under, one shot clear of Anton Karlsson from Sweden.