Put the words ‘Meghan MacLaren’ and ‘Curtis Cup’ into Google and you’ll get nearly 23,000 returns. Now you understand how big a deal it was to clinch the winning point in women’s golf ’s most prestigious amateur team event.

When Bethany Wu missed the putt that handed the famous trophy back to Great Britain & Ireland at Dun Laoghaire, it was MacLaren who gained the victory that will be forever in the record books as the crucial win.

But the Northamptonshire player’s exploits in Ireland were only one highlight of a season she will never forget. MacLaren rode a wave of glory – the European Team Championships and Home Internationals following Curtis Cup success.

And after winning an LET Access Series tournament as an amateur – the Santander Golf Tour Letas La Penaza in Zaragoza – a bright career in the professional ranks now surely awaits.

Meghan MacLarenCould it have gone any better?

“Winning the Curtis Cup and the Europeans, I just couldn’t have written it more perfectly,” she admits. “It is one thing achieving individual success but the feeling I got from those two tournaments – I have never experienced anything like that. They were both special for different reasons but to be able to have ticked those off is something I am never going to forget.”

It began on the outskirts of Dublin in June where MacLaren was part of the team charged with regaining the Curtis Cup from the Americans. She formed a potent partnership with Maria Dunne, the pair starring as GB&I dominated the second day foursomes and fourballs in a 5-1 success.

As captain Elaine Farquharson-Black’s team went on to an 11.5-8.5 win, it was MacLaren who found herself the focus of all attention.

She remembers: “It was a weird situation. I saw a scoreboard when I came through 15 and I knew, if everything stood as it was, we’d need one more point to win. I was two up and knew if I got my point that would be it. I focused on trying to close it out. There were quite a lot of people watching but it went from that to thousands around my match.

Meghan MacLaren“My dad will probably tell you I reacted badly because I made a double on a par 3 straight after I knew what was going on. I was nervous but I knew I was playing well. I felt like I had been in enough pressure situations to know what I had to do. I played really well in the match and was in the position you want to get to.

“There have been a couple of situations before where you feel under pressure and you don’t come through. They are hard to take but if I hadn’t gone through those I wouldn’t have been able to get through it this time.

“I had a 25-footer for a birdie and I knew that putt was to win the Curtis Cup. It shaved the hole and was conceded. Bethany missed a six-footer and that was it.”

So how did it feel to be the one to secure the Curtis Cup?
“When you say it like that it sounds pretty good,” MacLaren reveals. “It’s a pretty nice thing that I will be able to say for the rest of my life. But it was a massive team effort.”

It’s tough to top a moment like that but, less than a month later, MacLaren and two of her Curtis Cup teammates gave it a try at the European Team Championships in Iceland. It had been 23 years since England last won the gold medal and, time after time, they had come away as the bridesmaids.

“It was hard to put that into words,” she says. “For some of us it was the fourth year. We had come fourth four years in a row. For those of us who had been there, and been through that, we were kind of in shock.”

Meghan MacLaren

It went right down to the wire, every match except one needing the 18th hole. But with MacLaren, Alice Hewson and Bronte Law all winning 1 up, England squeezed past Spain 4-3. Cue pandemonium.

MacLaren explains: “For a couple of us, it might well have been the last one and it was something I wanted really badly. I knew this might be my last chance and that made it even more special. When we got to the final, passing the stage where we had lost so many times, it was

“The experience of being in the Curtis Cup definitely helped. It was an amazing effort from all of us. For me personally, having played in the Curtis Cup a month or so before, it made a big difference to me.

“If we could beat the Americans when people didn’t expect us to, there was no reason why we couldn’t do it here. That experience made a difference.”

Such huge highs. Only MacLaren soon hit even greater heights. A final-round 66, and a birdie at the last, brought victory in Spain against the professionals. Surely she will soon be joining them.

You can follow Meghan on Twitter: @meg_maclaren

Steve Carroll

A journalist for 23 years, Steve has been immersed in club golf for almost as long. A former captain and committee member, he has passed the Level 3 Rules of Golf exam with distinction having attended the national Tournament Administrators and Referee's Seminar. He has officiated at a host of high-profile tournaments, including Open Regional Qualifying and the PGA Fourball Championship. A member of NCG's Top 100s panel, Steve has a particular love of links golf and is frantically trying to restore his single-figure handicap. Steve is currently playing: Driver: TaylorMade Stealth 2 3-Wood: TaylorMade Stealth 2 Hybrids: TaylorMade Stealth 2 Irons: TaylorMade Stealth 5-A Wedge Wedges: TaylorMade Hi-Toe 54 and 58 Putter: Sik Sho Ball: TaylorMade TP5

Handicap: 11.3

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