Kelsey MacDonald is hoping to give her “wee family at Gullane pro shop” something to cheer about in the final two rounds of the Aberdeen Standard Investments Ladies Scottish Open
But the 27-year-old won’t be joined in the weekend action by Catriona Matthew after the local heroine missed the cut after playing “pretty awful” in the second round of the $1.5 million event.
MacDonald, who won the Scottish Women’s Championship at nearby Craigielaw in 2010, slipped from the top 15 to around 50th after following her opening 67 with a 75 to sit on level-par.
But, bearing in mind the field here contained 10 of the world’s top 15 players, it was mission accomplished first and foremost for the Nairn woman to make it to the weekend.
“I’m happy,” she admitted. “Today was quite tough with the wind and there were a few tricky pin positions, so it was tough and I struggled a little today.”
With best friend Katy McNicoll, who works in the Gullane pro shop, on her bag again, MacDonald was level par for the day after 10 holes before dropping four shots thereafter.
“I’m happy I held it together,” she added. “I still hit it great, it was just that I left myself longer putts for par than I would have hoped for and missed a few short ones and when you do that, your confidence is knocked. I know the scoring has been low but I found it really tough.
“The wind swirled a bit – you can feel the hot wind from one side then the cool breeze from the water.”
Compared to the LPGA players in the field, MacDonald has been lightly raced coming into this event due to the LET schedule being threadbare again this season.
“I went and played in a Santander Golf Tour event in Spain recently just to get a scorecard in my hand,” she revealed. “You can play and practice as much as you want but having a scorecard in your hand makes a difference because you’ve got to stay sharp.”
With a cheque now guaranteed, will she now be heading into the final 36 holes with a blank slate? “I’m a bit more relaxed going into the weekend,” said MacDonald, smiling.
“I’m hoping my family will be coming. I feel like I’ve got a wee family at the Gullane pro shop though, so that’s a nice feeling. And Alistair (Good, the head pro) came and watched the last few holes, so it’s a good buzz.” Two-time LET winner Kylie Henry birdied three of the last four holes to join MacDonald in flying the Saltire in the final two rounds.
Matthew had been “pretty pleased” with her opening 69 and then started her second round with a birdie - but it was all downhill thereafter for the two-time winner.
She ran up double-bogeys at both the third, fourth and tenth, also dropped shots fifth, 15th and 16th and signed for a 79.
“Pretty awful, really - I just played badly today,” said the 48-year-old, who has been a Gullane member since she was 12 and had high hopes of getting into the mix this weekend.
“I started hitting everything left,” she added when asked what had gone wrong after that flying start. The weather wasn’t to blame as she admitted: “Conditions were pretty perfect, to be honest.
“Obviously disappointing to miss the cut here, but I just played poorly today. That’s a’ll there was to it.”
The Solheim Cup captain will now use the weekend to try and re-group before heading to Royal Lytham for next week’s Ricoh Women’s British Open - the event’s first visit there since Matthew claimed the title in 2009.
“I’m sure it’s just a minor tweak that is needed as I played really well yesterday,” she said. “So it’s frustrating to come out and play so badly today after that.”
American Tiffany Joh is still out in front at Gullane after backing up her opening 62 with a 67 to sit on 13-under - three shots clear of Thailand’s Ariya Jutanugarn and Amy Yang of Korea.
“I had pretty low expectations for today, to be honest,” said the 31-year-old San Diego-basaed player. “I honestly probably would have taken anything under par.
“But, on the first hole, right away I made a 45-footer, and I just started laughing. It was like a really good start, and I guess I just kept rolling with it.”
Musselburgh’s Vikki Laing joined Matthew in making an early exit, carding a 74 for a seeven-over-par total.