England’s Meghan MacLaren charged through the field with a superb display of sub-par golf to win the British ladies’ stroke play championship by one shot at Ashburnham in Wales.
The 20-year-international (Image © LGU) was nine-under par for the final 36 holes, propelling herself from a share of 16th place at the halfway stage to the top of the leaderboard.
Meghan, from Wellingborough, finished the 72-hole event on four-under par and won by a stroke from fellow international, Sarah-Jane Boyd of Truro, who held this title in 2012.
“This means such a lot,” said Meghan. “I’ve been waiting to win something like this for a while and it proves to me that my game is good enough to compete at the highest level.
“I’ve made a few changes to my swing this summer, which was something I felt I needed to do to get to the next level, and people around me - my family, coaches and England Golf – have helped and supported me a lot.”
However, she won’t have long to celebrate her triumph – Meghan is back to the USA, where she is a student at Florida International University and is a multiple winner on the US college circuit.
“I had to make it count,” she said of her last 2014 championship this side of the Atlantic. “It’s a nice way to end the summer.”
Meghan started the event slowly and was six over after the first seven holes of the championship.
But she wasn’t deterred: “I didn’t play as badly as the score suggests, which was why I didn’t lose confidence. I got into trouble and everything that could go wrong went wrong, but I knew I wasn’t playing badly so I kept plugging away.”
The 10th marked a change in fortunes – and became her talisman hole for the week – when she scored an eagle three, en route to playing the back nine in two under. She finished on 78, sharing 25th place.
In the second round she improved with 75, one-over par, and was tied 16th at the halfway stage. From then on there was no holding her. She was four-under par – with an eagle on the 10th – in the morning’s third round; and five under-par 69 – with an eagle on the 10th – in the afternoon.
After the third round she shared sixth place and after the fourth round the trophy was hers. “I just played really, really solid all day and gave myself chances. I missed some, it could have been better – but I also holed a lot to keep the momentum going.”
Meghan set an early target and had a long wait until she knew it could not be surpassed. Long-time leader Olivia Winning (Rotherham), who shot seven-under 67 in the first round, and Sarah-Jane Boyd were tied on two-under as they went through the turn on the final round.
Sarah-Jane looks odds-on to force a play-off after she stood on the 18th tee at four-under, but she bogeyed the last to drop back into second place. Olivia – a former winner of the Scottish stroke play – dropped back into a share of third place on level par, alongside England’s Alex Peters (Notts Ladies’) and Chloe Williams of Wales.