Meghan MacLaren (Rushden, England) has been sharing her skills beyond the game of golf. She is a noted writer and commentator, penning a poem and letter used in this summer’s LET brand refresh campaign and recently writing an article on returning to competition for LPGA.com. MacLaren sees the power in sharing her thoughts as a professional athlete now more than ever and is inspired by professionals across the board.
“Whenever I was in college, I always wanted to kind of be authentic and to show people that you didn't have to separate your identities of you know ‘I'm a golfer’ in this world and then this person in a different world. I've always believed that you could be your whole self and everything that you do,” said MacLaren.
“In the last year or so high profile people, like Megan Rapinoe is a big one that springs to mind immediately, advocate that you should not being scared to be yourself and to say yes I'm a soccer player or whatever but that doesn't stop me from having opinions. Also, Raheem Sterling, who has jumped to the forefront of the race debates in the soccer. I think it's powerful because they're on the biggest platform and using it.”
Maclaren, a Florida International University alumna, has two wins on the LET (2018 and 2019 Women’s New South Wales Open). Earlier this year, she competed in the Rose Ladies Series presented by American Golf, taking the win at Moor Park Golf Club in Hertfordshire, England.
“The way this year has gone I have had the opportunity to come here without any pressure in a way and I think that's maybe freed me up a bit and made me remember that I've enjoyed playing golf in America. I spent four years here in college and I do enjoy it. It’s good to be surrounded by like-minded people which is something that I've got as well out here.”
NA LOOKING TO GET BACK INTO CONTENTION
Since her rookie season in 2010, Stephanie Na (Adelaide, Australia) has claimed six top-five finishes, highlighted by a tied for second last year at the Symetra Classic. Thinking back to finding herself in contention with 2019 graduates Leona Maguire, Jillian Hollis and Perrine Delacour, Na is reminded of where her game can be.
“I think a couple of times I actually found myself in contention throughout last season. I was getting closer and it definitely gave me a lot of confidence,” said Na. “It's always fun to be amongst the amongst the leaders coming down the stretch.”
Na has competed in nine consecutive ISPS Handa Women’s Australian Opens (2012-2020) with a best finish of tied for nineteenth in 2018. She has competed extensively in her native country but spent 2020 focusing on the Symetra Tour in hopes to get closer to earning her LPGA card. Between experience competing on the ALPG, LPGA Tour and Symetra Tour, Na notes how grateful she is to have the opportunity to compete this year on the “Road to the LPGA.”
“Everyone wants to be out there on the main tour and the fact that we have Symetra as a sponsor to have these events is great. You're extracting all the best players from around the world that are nearly on the LPGA,” said Na. “The competition has gotten so much stronger over the years. I mean, if I compare it to when I first came out here, you can see in the increase in our purses and the level of competition. Really everything is has risen. I'm super grateful that I'm still able to play tournaments and the fact that sponsors like Symetra have continued supporting our tour means the world to us.”
PATRICK IN FIELD FOLLOWING WIN ON WAPT
For a second consecutive year, the Symetra Tour and Women’s All-Pro Tour (WAPT) have partnered together to give WAPT winners exemption into select Symetra Tour events. The Symetra Classic joins in the 2020 partnership.
Last week, Katharine Patrick (West University Place, TX) claimed her first professional win at the Taco Bell Natchez Golf Classic at Beau Pre Country-Club in Natchez, MS. Due to weather the tournament was forced into a sudden death playoff between Patrick and amateur Alexa Pano (Lake Worth, FL). The University of Virginia alumna, sunk a 21-foot putt for birdie to claim the title and earn exemption into this week’s field at LPGA International.
“It was really exciting. I've been pro for a little less than a year now, so I didn’t expect a win to be this early,’” said Patrick. “We both had good drives and then had like a long way in like 198 yards. I hit it to around twenty feet and she was a little off and had to chipped it. I just told myself to go for it and it went in right in the middle, so it was exciting first win.”
Patrick made one cut of four starts this season on the “Road to the LPGA.” Looking to make her second cut since the Founders Tribute at Longbow Golf Club, she aims to build off last week’s win.
“Just knowing that I can put myself in contention and this is my fifth Symetra Tour event I definitely have some confidence from last week for sure,” said Patrick. “I think University of Virginia really prepared me for what it would be like out here and I didn't get an individual win in college, so it is also really exciting that I got one last week.”