MEGHAN MacLaren picked up where she left off by carding a second consecutive 65 and will take a two-shot lead into the final round of the Jordan Mixed Open, on Saturday.
The Northamptonshire-based pro, who is a champion for the strength of the women’s professional game, has carded 15 birdies and only one bogey through two rounds as her game continues to personify her larger message to the golfing world.
Sitting on 14-under par, the 23-year-old from Wellingboro GC, will look to make history as the first champion in mixed professional golf.
A win would be her second victory of the year, and add to her Solheim Cup points total, after she successfully defended her Women’s NSW Open title in February.
Meghan, whose father David heads the Seniors Tour, said: “There’s a lot of other stuff going on, and I’m proud of the position all three tours have put themselves in, and proud for golf as a whole for this tournament.
“But tomorrow is going to be completely about my own game and trying to get the best score possible out there.
“It looks like a pretty even split with all the players making the cut, which would have been exactly what the tour representatives and the people setting the course up would have wanted, and with a player from each tour in the last group, they couldn’t have written it any better than that.
“I think it’s a testament to the amount of research that has gone into it and that the people running the tournament know about golf. This isn’t just some gimmick, like ‘oh let’s see if this works.’
“There’s been a lot of thought into it and I’m happy it’s playing out like this. I think that’s only going to be encouraging for the future.
“I think this shows that women’s golf has more than a leg to stand on, and if I can prove a point in that regard, then that’s an added bonus.”
“I work hard because I just love golf, it’s not really anything more than that. I guess working hard is just part of my make-up and it’s part of what makes me a good player.
“There’s something nice about when there’s not many people around and you know you’re putting work in, but it’s got to be work that is of benefit to you and not everybody does that.”
Two shots behind MacLaren on 12-under is European Challenge Tour player Daan Huizing, who signed for a second round 68. The Dutchman matched the Ayla Golf Club course-record on Thursday with his a 64 and will now chase his own place in history in tomorrow’s final round.
Dan, who won twice in his rookie season on the Challenge Tour in 2013, but has not won since, said: “There are a couple of things I need to smooth out but I’m happy with how I’m conducting myself and I’m in a good position for tomorrow.
“The goal is to go out and win the thing. That is what we play for and what we practise for.
“I managed my way around quite well and the putts were good. It was the total opposite breeze today from yesterday so every hole was playing differently.
“The par fives, which were down wind and playing easy yesterday were into the wind today. I’ll make some notes from that. I’ve seen the course from both directions now, so whatever happens tomorrow, I’ll be prepared.”
Joining MacLaren and Huizing in the final group is 2018 Staysure Tour Rookie of the Year, Paul Streeter. The 52-year-old from Lincoln signed for rounds of 66 and 70, which puts him in a three-way tie for third place alongside Challenge Tour players Jack Senior, from Lancashire and Wales’ Oliver Farr.
Since Streeter was the first of the three players to complete his second round, he has the honour of playing in the final grouping. As a result, one player from each cohort will engage in golf’s first three-Tour battle down the stretch as they all vie to become the inaugural winner of the Jordan Mixed Open.
Streeter, who won twice in his first full season last year on the over 50s tour, said: “Score-wise, it was as much as I deserved. I didn’t play great and struggled a bit off the tee. I struggled with the pace of the greens and had a couple of three putts out there. Overall, I’d take that.
“Beth Allen was brilliant to play with. She’s a great golfer. She shot a few over each day but she played so much better than that. I really enjoyed it.
“It’s nice to see the ladies play golf, because I think I knew one female professional golfer before this week, and they’re not in the league of what Beth is, so it was great to play with her and see what she does.”
A world-first, the Jordan Mixed Open sees 40 players from each of the Challenge Tour, the Staysure Tour and the Ladies European Tour to competing for the same trophy.
The 36-hole cut will reduce the field to a total of 66 players for the final round. Of those 66 players, there are 20 representing the Ladies European Tour, 21 from the Staysure Tour and 25 from the Challenge Tour.
The even split of players, and the composition of the final grouping is yet another victory for the future of mixed professional golf.
The important collection of data continued on day two. Driving distances, approach shot distances, competitors’ club selections and individual hole scoring averages were recorded, and the growing data sample will once again inform the course set-up for the final round.
Challenge Tour players have been competing from approximately 7,100 yards, with Staysure Tour players playing from 6,601 yards and Ladies European Tour players from 6,139 yards. Adjustments are made each day based on wind direction and overall weather conditions.
The final round of the historic Jordan Mixed Open begins at 10:30 am BST, on Saturday, with the final grouping of MacLaren, Huizing and Streeter set to go at 14:16 pm UK time.