Staying in famed pub, Ally McDonald a surprise contender at Women's British Open

Ally McDonald Women's British Open David Cannon/Getty Images

Staying in famed pub, Ally McDonald a surprise contender at Women's British Open

LPGA Tour

Staying in famed pub, Ally McDonald a surprise contender at Women's British Open

KINGSBARNS, Scotland – Ally McDonald played four holes on the Old Course late Tuesday evening before the the rain came. She and Katherine Kirk made their way to the 17th and 18th so that McDonald could at least take a walk down the Road Hole and over the Swilken Bridge. McDonald then made her way back to The Dunvegan (about a wedge away) to have dinner with friends from the tour’s fellowship.

With a name like McDonald, it was natural for someone to ask if she had any Scottish heritage. The British Open rookie hadn’t a clue.

Still, she’s playing the part of a savvy links vet well. McDonald Monday-qualified for the Ricoh Women’s British Open – which is why she couldn’t play in the pro-am at Kingsbarns Golf Links on Tuesday – and sits two shy of the lead through 36 holes after back-to-back 68s. 

Stacy Lewis rented out The Dunvegan for the week, but had an extra room in the flat above the Auchterlonies golf shop and offered it to McDonald. Both Lorena Ochoa (2007) and Lewis (2013) celebrated their British Open victories at the famed pub, and Lewis stayed in that flat. Photos line the walls (even the bathroom) at The Dunvegan from the only two times the women have competed in St. Andrews for a major title.

And there's this near the sink, @lor8a! One of my favorite weeks on the job.

A post shared by Beth Ann Nichols (@bethann_nichols) on

McDonald, 24, hails from Fulton, a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it town of about 4,000 in northeast Mississippi. She honed her skills on a nine-hole course, Fulton Country Club, and put the Mississippi State golf program on the map.

Last year, McDonald traveled outside the country for the first time when she qualified for the Evian Championship in France. She has since been to the Bahamas and Australia, making Scotland her fourth trip overseas.

McDonald’s first experience with links golf came 10 days ago at the Scottish Ladies Open. She landed at 7 a.m. and stumbled around Dundonald Golf Links before falling into bed. 

Asked if it felt surreal to be in this position in her first go at the Women’s British, McDonald said yes and no.

“I really believe in myself and know what I’ve done to be where I am,” she said. “ We’re only to the halfway point. Anything can happen.”

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