The 30-year-old Scot opened with a four-under-par 68 at Catalunya at Glub de Golf Terramar in Sitges to share the lead with Swaziland’s Nobuhle Dlamini.
MacDonald mixed five birdies with a bogey in her round and said: “I’m really happy. I played some good golf out there in good conditions, with a good group.
“It was just solid from tee to green. I had a bad swing on four and put it into the water on my approach, and you are looking to birdie that hole, so that was disappointing. Other than that, I played really well.”
MacDonald recorded a top-10 finish in this event two years ago and revealed daily dips in the
Mediterranean was part of her recipe for success.
“I’ve got good feels around here,” she added. “It’s a beautiful place and I’ve been in the sea every day, pretty much.
“I’m using the sea as rest and recovery, before and after my tee times.”
On a good day for the Scots, Heather MacRae, Michele Thomson and Kylie Henry all carded 71s while Laura Murray had a 72.
Elsewhere, Alejandro Del Rey made professional golf history at the Swiss Challenge, carding a 14 under par round of 58 – the lowest-ever score to par on a major golf tour.Del Rey joins Jim Furyk (PGA Tour, 2016), Stephan Jäger (Korn Ferry Tour, 2016), Ryo Ishikawa (Japan Golf Tour, 2010) and Kim Seong-hyeon (Japan Golf Tour, 2021) in shooting 58 but all of their rounds were 12 under par on par-70 courses.