Meghan MacLaren sets up chance of getting into Solheim Cup mix

Meghan MacLaren celebrates after finishing with a birdie at Queenbeyan Golf Club, where she finished three shots clear of the field. Picture: Tristan Jones
Meghan MacLaren celebrates after finishing with a birdie at Queenbeyan Golf Club, where she finished three shots clear of the field. Picture: Tristan Jones
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Meghan MacLaren, a double medallist in last year’s inaugural European Golf Championships at Gleneagles, could be one of the darkhorses in the battle to represent Europe in the Solheim Cup at the Perthshire venue in September, writes Martin Dempster.

The 24-year-old English player has certainly given herself a chance of getting in the mix for Catriona Matthew’s team after making a successful defence of the New South Wales Women’s Open at Queanbeyan Golf Club.

On a dramatic final day, MacLaren twice lost the lead before finishing eagle-par-birdie for a closing 69 and a 12-under-par 272 total, winning by three shots from New Zealand’s Munchin Keh and Swede Lynn Carlsson.

“Last year was my first win and that was a big deal and I don’t think anything can compare to that,” said MacLaren. “You don’t want to be a one-win wonder. There was a bit more pressure this week, so to come through that feels amazing.”

MacLaren held a one-stroke lead at the turn before losing her advantage after finding trouble on the 13th, but she hit a 3-wood over the trees to six feet to set up her eagle at the par-5 16th hole. She then played a perfect 8-iron shot to the heart of the 18th green and rolled in a 12-foot putt for birdie. “I wish I could play all of my golf in New South Wales,” she added, having claimed her first win in the event at Coffs Harbour last year. “It’s a bit of a weird one, because it’s not at the same course, so it almost doesn’t feel like the same tournament. It must be something about Australia and coming to the end of the whole trip.”

Carly Booth (69) and Michele Thomson (71) finished joint 12th on three-under, eight shots ahead of fellow Scot Kelsey Macdonald (75).