They are one-day events, 18 holes, the kind of thing anyone could catch a good break and win. The fact that two of British women’s golf’s most compelling figures captured the first couple of tournaments on the Rose Ladies Series presented by American Golf speaks volumes for the comradery and selfless spirit on display.
Epson Tour and LET member Meghan McLaren won the second event on Thursday at Moor Park in Hertfordshire, England, firing a three-under-par 69 despite hitting a wrong ball and being assessed a two-shot penalty on the 11th. Even with the hiccup, McLaren, a two-time LET winner and former standout at Florida International University, held on to finish two clear of Liz Young and amateur Samantha Fuller.
Last week, 2016 CME Group Tour Championship winner and Solheim Cup veteran Charley Hull won the inaugural Rose Series competition at Brokenhurst Manor in Hampshire.
All are thrilled to be playing, despite the fact that the only perks are a box of tees on the first hole and a cooler full of bananas on the 10th. No matter. With the 2020 LET season yet to begin and the LPGA Tour and Epson Tour set to resume in late July, the Rose Ladies Series, an eight-event tour for U.K. women created by Justin Rose and his wife Kate, has been a welcome blessing. Players couldn’t be more grateful for the opportunity to compete.
“It’s just nice,” MacLaren said. “We all enjoy being here and you see the same faces, so it’s a really enjoyable atmosphere.”
The 26-year-old who won the 2007 LET Access Series Order of Merit, has become known as one of the most thoughtful spokeswomen in the game with a quick wit and uncanny writing skills, in addition to a solid putter. She birdied the first hole on Thursday and eagled the fourth to take a quick lead. Another birdie at 10 got her to six under for the round before the mistake at 11. But she birdied the 15th to regain an edge that she held until the last.
“I think everybody felt a bit more comfortable this week,” MacLaren said, speaking of coming back after the three-month competitive layoff due to the coronavirus. “We were thrown in at the deep end last week (at Brokenhurst Manor) because the course was really tough. This one was tough as well, but you start to get your edge back bit by bit.”
Rose, who put up £35,000 of his own money to sponsor the series, a sum that was matched by Europe’s largest golf retailer, American Golf, was on hand and presented MacLaren with a £5,000 winner’s check.
It wouldn’t have mattered if it was £500. The sentiment and the willingness to step up and act in such a gracious and giving way is what the women in the Rose Series hope everyone will notice.
“For someone like Justin Rose to come out and sponsor this and say the things that he did and just give us some respect, it’s meant the world to all of us,” MacLaren said. “To turn that into action is something that we will all be grateful for, for a very long time. Just getting to play: it’s nice to be out here again.”