Diksha Dagar secures top five finish in NSW Open, Meghan MacLaren wins title

Diksha Dagar capped off a memorable week in Australia finishing T5 in the New South Wales Open. Meghan MacLaren defended the title with a poised 69 in the final round.

Diksha Dagar during the final round of the NSW Open - LET Image

10 March 2019: Diksha Dagar produced a composed 70 in the final round of the New South Wales Open to secure a tie for fifth with Felicity Johnson and Valdis Thora Jonsdottir. The Indian shot a third straight under par round to cap a great week with a solid effort. Meghan MacLaren rode a 69 for a three-shot win over Munchin Keh and Lynn Carlsson. The Englishwoman finished at 12-under 272, coasting home to her second straight victory in the NSW Open.

Meghan MacLaren with her NSW Open title - LET Image
Meghan MacLaren with her NSW Open title – LET Image

In only her fifth start on the LET, the 18-year-old Diksha played with great purpose all week as she forced her way up the order after a cold start and hung in there till the very end. Diksha opened with a 72 but gained space with scores of 67, 69 and 70 over the next three rounds. She made 13 birdies and a brilliant eagle at the par-5 third hole during an impressive third round.

On Sunday, Diksha started with a bogey at the second hole, but made amends right away, knocking in a birdie at the next hole. She went under par for the round when she made another birdie at the seventh hole.

A bogey at the 14th threatened to pull the rug from under her feet, but she held steady with a birdie at the par-5 16th hole. Diksha signed off with an overall score of 6-under 278.

Amandeep Drall finished the week with a serene 69 to secure a respectable T18 amongst a competitive field. She started her day with a bogey at the very first hole, but there wasn’t much to complain from there onwards.

Drall made three birdies – first at the third hole before adding back to back birdies at the 13th and 14th holes.

Astha Madan had to endure a difficult ending. She put the finishing touches on a largely good week with a battling 73 despite coughing up six bogeys. An eagle at the par-3 third hole and birdies at the 7th and 13th were the highlights of her final round.

MacLaren was the only woman in the field to shoot all four rounds under par and at 12-under 272 was three better than any of her opponents.

“I wish I could play all of my golf in New South Wales,” said MacLaren, who won the title by two at Coffs Harbour last year. “It’s a bit of a weird one, because it’s not at the same course, so it almost doesn’t feel like the same tournament. It must be something about Australia and coming to the end of the whole trip.

“It was pretty gritty out there for a long time and quite nerve-wracking. As much as you want it to be like the last few days and all controlled and straight forward, 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 and I just hoped for a moment of magic somewhere and it happened.

“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.

“Last year was my first win and that was a big deal and I don’t think anything can compare to that. You don’t want to be a one-win wonder. There was a bit more pressure this week, so to come through that feels amazing.”

“The lead got to 11-under, so I needed something at that point and I found it, so it’s always going to be special for me.”

Victory didn’t come without its fair share of drama. Keh was enjoying a two-stroke advantage after she made an eagle at the 16th hole. MacLaren responded with an eagle of her own at the 16th to even matters and took victory when Keh melted into a double bogey at the final hole when a victory was still in her sights with a good finish.