When the name M MacLaren pops up on a leaderboard it usually refers to 20-year-old England international Meghan. Today, though, the honours belonged to her mother, Mary.
The Wellingborough player won the women’s scratch prize at the England Golf senior men’s and women’s Midlands tournament at Newark, where her gross score rewarded her with a total of 60 points.
Mary, a four handicapper, an Ireland senior international and a past Northamptonshire county champion, commented: “It’s my first win in one of these senior events, so I’m delighted. I had to take a photograph of the leaderboard! I’m used to seeing another M MacLaren up there!”
Mary had special thanks, though, for her younger daughter, 15-year-old Rebecca, “who dragged me out to practice on Monday evening. I am sure that helped me,” she said.
Mary added: “One of the benefits of turning 50 is coming to play in these fantastic senior events. They’re good fun and still competitive, but it’s a more friendly competition!”
The ladies’ handicap prize was won by Pauline Olliver of Burnham Beeches in Buckinghamshire who scored 71 stableford points – and won by a point from Mary MacLaren.
“It’s been absolutely lovely. In the first round I had a good front nine and then rather lost it. Today I had another good front nine and managed to hang on. I’m thrilled – and I’ve taken 0.9 off my handicap!” she said.
“The course was lovely and I’ve done some exploring. I brought my National Trust card with me and visited Belton House, just outside Grantham, which was stunning. Since I’ve been playing in these events my geography of England has improved enormously! That’s another bonus.”
The men’s scratch prize went to Newark’s course manager Graeme MacDonald who was hard at work before the competition and then back on his tractor afterwards, preparing for the weekend’s play, which includes a mixed open on Sunday.
Graeme, who had 60 points, is playing his first year of senior golf, is representing Nottinghamshire seniors and played in the recent English senior amateur championship. He was pleased with the presentation of the course today and, although he had local knowledge, he didn’t enjoy any inside information. “England Golf chose the pin positions,” he said.
The handicap winner was David Bull of Erewash Valley in Derbyshire, who amassed 77 points and was five clear of the runner-up.
David, a past captain of Ilkeston Borough, also in Derbyshire, is a regular at England Golf captains’ events – but this was his first senior tournament. He used to play in the Newark Open but said: “I haven’t played the course for about five years, so it was nice to go back there and have some memories.”
“The greens were very true and I had tremendous success with my putter.”
Picture (from left): Graeme MacDonald, Mary MacLaren, Pauline Olliver and David Bull.