4/4/2019 10:56:42 PM

MacLaren strikes blow for women in ground-breaking mixed event

MacLaren strikes blow for women in ground-breaking mixed event

Aqaba, Jordan: Britain's Meghan MacLaren produced an opening round 65 to lie one shot off the lead in the Jordan Mixed Open pitting men and women against each other for the first time, competing for the same prize.

The event in Aqaba drew competitors from the European Challenge and Senior tours and the Ladies European tour, with MacLaren the only woman in the top ten after Thursday's first round.

The 23-year-old, a vocal opponent of gender pay disparity in golf, shot a seven-under par 65 to share second with compatriot Jack Senior with Dutch player Daan Huizing atop the leaderboard after his round of 64.

"Given everything I've talked about over the last few months, it is nice to back it up, but I didn't want to put any extra pressure on myself," MacLaren, 23, said.

"I've been saying to everybody that the girls' standard of play will show if the course is set up properly.

"I'm just happy with how I've played and if that puts me near the top against the guys, then that's just a bonus, really."

MacLaren was followed by her number one fan, her father David, who was involved in setting up the event in his capacity as European Tour deputy chief operating officer and Senior Tour chief.

"He pretended he was out there watching the Staysure Tour (Seniors) player Peter Fowler, but I don't think anybody believes that!" said Meghan.

"He enjoys watching my golf and he has been instrumental in putting this event together, so I think it was great for him to be out there and see how we compare playing alongside each other."

Among the golfers she outshone were former Ryder Cup player Barry Lane, Miguel Angel Martin and Rafael Gomez, who were in a five-way tie for sixth, two shots behind.

Scottish husband and wife Scott and Kylie Henry enjoyed mixed fortunes, with Mr signing for a one under 71 and Mrs a two over 74.

"In terms of our finances, if we found ourselves coming down the stretch battling it out for the win that would be ideal –- although it might not do much for the relationship," said Scott, who has won the Kazakhstan Open in 2012 before teeing off. 

"We are both very competitive when we play each other and I probably do win most of the time. But Kylie has been coming into a good patch and beat me the other day.

"There will definitely be a bet between us and it will probably involve household chores. But the bragging rights will be the thing," he told the European Challenge Tour website.

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