'New' Kelsey MacDonald delighted to secure AIG Women's Open spot

Kelsey MacDonald had suffered hurt and disappointment in the past in her bid to play in the AIG Women’s Open for the first time, but her tears were joyous ones on this occasion.

Kelsey MacDonald, right, shows off the Jock MacVicar Leading Scot Trophy alongside Trust Golf Scottish Women's Open winner Ryann O'Toole at Dumbarnie Links. Picture: Tristan Jones
Kelsey MacDonald, right, shows off the Jock MacVicar Leading Scot Trophy alongside Trust Golf Scottish Women's Open winner Ryann O'Toole at Dumbarnie Links. Picture: Tristan Jones

Capping a brilliant effort on home soil, the 30-year-old from Nairn closed with a two-under 70 in the Trust Golf Women’s Scottish Open at Dumbarnie Links to finish with a seven-under 281 total.

That earned her a share of 15th spot in the £1.1 million event, picking up the new Jock MacVicar Trophy as the leading Scot on the Fife coast.

It was arguably the most impressive performance of MacDonald’s career, earning a bonus she richly deserved by securing one of five spots up for grabs in next week’s AIG Women’s Open at Carnoustie.

Kelsey MacDonald in action during the final round of the Trust Golf Women's Scottish Open at Dumbarnie Links. Picture: Tristan Jones

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“I've been caught short every single time getting into The Open by one shot or by a couple spots on the Order of Merit,” said the former Scottish Women’s champion. “So to finally get in next week is fantastic.”

As had been the case all week, MacDonald came up with a response when she needed one in the closing circuit on the Clive Clark-designed course.

Out in one-under 35, she dropped an untimely shot at the par-4 12th but hit back with a two straight birdies, the second of which was set up by a brilliant tee shot at the short 14th, where she used a greenside bank to good effect.

“Yeah, the old Kelsey would have got a bit frustrated but, you know, there's opportunities out there. So just got it back as quickly as I could and was able to press on,” she said.

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When did the old Kelsey become the new Kelsey? “To be honest, I would say actually just this year with Covid and everything, it's been difficult,” she added. “I think you are just realising that there's more to life, really. So just a better attitude. I mean, it's good to get frustrated but as long as you use it in a good way.”

It was easily MacDonald’s best effort in this event. “Shows that you belong up there, that's good,” she admitted.

A big cheer from a small band of supporters up on the hill at the side of the 18th green was well-deserved. “Yeah,” she said of this performance confirming that her game is trending in the right direction.

“I've had quite a few top 10s. It's just about getting to that next level and hopefully a win is just around the corner.”

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MacDonald finished nine shots ahead of Michele Thomson after the first-round leader closed with a 69 for two-over, with Carly Booth, the third home player to make the cut, a shot further back after a 70.

“That was high on the priority list this week,” said MacDonald of her prize in honour of the legendary Scottish golf writer, who died earlier this year.

“It's just great to be the first name on that trophy. It's an amazing tribute and Dumbarnie has been a fantastic test, as well, so I'm sure he would be absolutely delighted with how this week's gone.”

Whitney Hillier, Karolin Lampert, Haeji Kang and Prima Thammaraks were the other players to secure AIG Women’s Open berths.

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