MacLaren wins Australian Women’s Classic

Wellingborough professional Meghan MacLaren made it a hat-trick of career victories down under on the Ladies European Tour as she clinched the Australian Women’s Classic by one stroke at Bonville Golf Resort.

With the tournament being shortened to 54 holes due to heavy rain in New South Wales, the 27-year-old carded scores of 67 and 70 to lead by one going into the final day, when she posted a round of 69 to nudge ahead of Sweden’s Maja Stark.

MacLaren, whose previous two LET wins came in the Women’s New South Wales Open in 2018 and 2019, sealed her latest victory with a brilliant back nine that included birdies on the 11th, 14th, 15th and 18th holes.

She said: “It means a lot. It is a little bit surreal right now. When that putt went in, it was the best feeling in the world.

“I thought I had made the birdie putt on 10. I had a bit of a tricky start, that’s the thing I am most proud of all week was the fact I stayed calm, and I knew I was going to play some good golf at some point and I managed to get it done.

“The people are amazing here and it is a place I feel really comfortable. I’m going to keep coming back here for the rest of my career.

“The support was unbelievable – it means the world to me to know people are rooting for you and they want to see you do well. It really helps to spur me on, so I owe them a lot.”

MacLaren only made the decision to return to the Ladies European Tour earlier this month after initially planning to compete in the USA on the 2022 Epson Tour, which feeds into the LPGA Tour.

But after finding some form in two LET events in Thailand, MacLaren won the Australian Women’s Classic pro-am team prize a few days before the Bonville event, and now sits third in the 2022 LET Race to Costa del Sol rankings.

Speaking before the Australian Women’s Classic teed off, she admitted playing on the Ladies European Tour in 2022 would probably be the best environment to develop her game.

She said: “Last year I did what was best for me last year, but that’s not necessarily the same this year. I realised pretty quickly that being over there (USA) this year that I wasn’t going to help me get what I wanted out of it.

“I’m at a point in my career where I know what I need to get better, which environment that requires and which people to bounce off – and I didn’t feel like I had that in America.

“I find it’s easy to get sucked into a ‘golf is work’ mind-set, especially playing on feeder tours and that’s never been how I’ve viewed golf. I love golf and it’s all encompassing for me.

“I feel in America I get focused on what I’m shooting and if I’m making cuts and what I need to do to do well in tournaments, rather than just enjoying that process of knowing I’m better now than I was two weeks ago or if I can see improvements in different areas.

“But I believe in myself and the longer I’m out here, the more I’m backing myself to achieve what I think I can.”

Meghan MacLaren (Credit: LET)