Meghan MacLaren claims second victory at Women's NSW Open

Meghan MacLaren arrived at Queanbeyan a fortnight ago intent on defending her NSW Open Championship title, and did so thanks to a gritty performance. 

Winner in red: Meghan MacLaren (centre, in red) surrounded by volunteers from the Queanbeyan Golf Club following her victory in the NSW Women's Open. Photo: Golf NSW.

Winner in red: Meghan MacLaren (centre, in red) surrounded by volunteers from the Queanbeyan Golf Club following her victory in the NSW Women's Open. Photo: Golf NSW.

The English native won her first title at the same Championship in Coffs Harbour last year, but her road to first place at the Queanbeyan Golf Club was anything but smooth sailing. 

"It was pretty gritty out there for a long time and quite nerve-wracking," she said. 

"As much as you want it to be like the last few days and all controlled and straightforward, it just wasn't like that ... I had to hang in there and even though I dropped a couple of shots.

"I knew that things were going to be close, and nobody was running away with it." 

For most of the fourth and final day of the tournament, which took place from March 7 to March 10, MacLaren traded the lead with her playing partner, Sweden's Lynn Carlsson. 

Carlsson and MacLaren began the day tied, and some early bogies and birdies saw both women edge ahead of one another repeatedly, all the while closely trailed by Munchin Keh, who would eventually finish level second. 

Despite some nervous moments and what looked to be an impending come-from-behind victory from Keh, MacLaren sunk an eagle on the 16th hole and a birdie on the 18th to finish with a three shot lead. 

"I just hoped for a moment of magic somewhere, and it happened," MacLaren said of her hole 16 eagle. 

"It's funny, I had almost the same shot yesterday where I had to hit a 30, 40 yard cut with a 3-wood around the trees and I pulled it off yesterday, so I thought, I know I've done it; I know I need something.

"I knew the lead had gone to 11-under at that point, so I was chasing, and as soon as I hit it, I hoped that it would be right and it was. I rolled in the putt."

While MacLaren said that it "feels amazing" to defend her title, she added that it was a strange feeling to win the same tournament in such different surroundings. 

"It's not at the same course, so it almost doesn't feel like the same tournament," she said.