Scottish pair Heather MacRae and Kylie Walker will make their US Women’s Open debuts in July after battling through the second European Sectional Qualifier at Buckinghamshire GC.
MacRae looked to be totally out of contention after an opening round of 75 but an astonishing back nine, which included six birdies, helped her to a round of 65 and a tie at the top on four-under alongside Maria Balikoeva and Holly Aitchison.
Afterwards, an emotional MacRae, who plays out of Archerfield Links, said: “It’s unbelievable. I’m so happy. I thought three-under was going to be okay and when I got to 18 and saw that I needed to be four otherwise it was a play-off and I needed my putt to go in.
“I’ve not played a tournament in the States since I was at university over there so I’m really excited” – Heather MacRae
“The last major I played in was when I was an amateur in 2005 and I’ve not played a tournament in the States since I was at university over there so I’m really excited to see what it’s like and I’m looking forward to playing here again in the ISPS Handa Ladies European Masters in July, because I’ve not played in that either.”
She also tweeted:
Walker, meanwhile, was the last of the five qualifiers to get through after coming through a nail-biting play-off at the third extra hole.
With two spots available, England’s Lauren Taylor went through with a birdie on the first extra hole, while Patricia Sanz Barrio was eliminated with a bogey.
The second extra hole saw American Beth Allen, whose home club is Falkirk GC, put out after a two-putt bogey before Walker wrapped it up on the third hole to knock Georgia Hall out after she tapped in for birdie following a perfectly judged 5-iron tee shot.
“I’m really delighted to get through and excited about heading to America,” said the 28-year-old from Mar Hall GC. “I actually birdied my last two holes in regulation play to get back to three-under so I was really happy with that and even getting into the play-off.
“The crowd roared and then I just tapped in” – Kylie Walker
“In the play-off I went par, par, birdie at the end. I hit a 5-iron and from back there you couldn’t really see the ball finish because we were losing daylight but the crowd roared and then I just tapped in.”
Walker’s success in qualifying for the US Women’s Open at Lancaster Country Club, Pennsylvania, from July 9-12, comes after a strong showing at the Turkish Airlines Ladies Open last week, where she finished in a tie for third.