MacRae puts Tour card distraction to back of mind

HEATHER MacRae is aiming to keep her eyes off the prize when she sets out in Turkey today trying to make it two seasons running that a Scot has earned a step up to the Ladies European Tour from its development circuit.

Heather MacRae will be the second woman to play in the Scottish PEA Championship. Picture: Jayne Emsley
Heather MacRae will be the second woman to play in the Scottish PEA Championship. Picture: Jayne Emsley

The former Scottish girls’ champion heads into the final Access Series event of the season, the Mineks Ladies Classic at the National Golf Club in Belek, lying fifth on the money list.

If she can cement that position over the next three days, MacRae, who is attached to Gleneagles Hotel, will emulate Bothwell Castle’s Pamela Pretswell in using that route as a stepping stone to the main circuit.

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“Seeing Pamela go through the Access Tour and then keep her card is great,” said the former Ladies’ British Open Stroke-Play champion of her compatriot. “After her performance last year, I really wanted to play all these Access Series events to give myself the best chance.

“I’m looking forward to this week but, at the same time, I am aiming to just try to keep doing what I’ve been doing. I had a good few days practice at the Antalya Golf Club and headed to the tournament course earlier in the week, so I’m feeling well prepared.

“There are still quite a few girls who can get in the top five so I just need to stick to my routines and plans and focus on the golf tournament and see what happens.”

Caddying for MacRae is her boyfriend Chris Kelly, whose trip to Turkey has already proved rewarding. He finished seventh in the PGA play-offs in Antalya earlier in the week, so secured a spot in next season’s BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth.

“Having Chris caddying is a huge help and I know there are a lot of people willing me on at home, too,” she admitted. “But I need to try to forget all that stuff and just play golf.”

Ayrshire’s Pamela Feggans is also among 12 players still in contention for instant LET promotion on Friday night.

Should either MacRae or Feggans fall short, it will be on to Morocco next week for a crack at the qualifying school, the entry for which this year also includes former Curtis Cup team-mates Sally Watson and Michelle Thomson, as well as a trio of past Scottish Women’s champions in Kelsey Macdonald, Laura Murray and Heather Stirling.