The five-round test in Marrakech isn’t what the Nairn woman would have had in mind in the countdown to Christmas, but at least it’s one she’s headed into with her spirits having been boosted.
MacDonald finished the regular season with one of her best performances of the campaign in last week’s Omega Dubai Ladies Masters, falling just five spots short in the end in a courageous last-gasp bid to hang on to her card.
Buoyed by that effort, the 25-year-old posted a five-under-par 67 at Amelkis Golf Club to sit tied for top spot at the Qualifying School after day one with with Germany’s Karolin Lampert, Caroline Rominger from Switzerland and Norway’s Rachel Raastad.
“I was obviously disappointed that I didn’t hang on to my card last week but I came out and had a great round today,” said the former Scottish women’s champion. “It’s about taking my game from last week on to this week.
“I had six birdies today and just kept giving myself chances. Now I’m really looking forward to playing Samanah tomorrow. It’s a marathon of golf, so I just have to take every day as a new challenge.”
MacDonald’s fellow former Scottish title-holder, Alyson McKechin, and Gemma Dryburgh also opened with sub-par efforts - 70 and 71 at Samanah respectively - to sit inside the top 35 after the opening salvos in the draining end-of-season examination.Needing to finish among the top 30 and ties to secure a full card, Jane Turner and Michele Thomson, the two other Scots among the hopefuls, are already playing catch up after opening efforts of 76 and 77 respectively.