England’s Meghan MacLaren says that her game is in a better place than at this time last year as she prepares to defend her maiden Ladies European Tour title in the Women’s New South Wales Open presented by Worrells at Queanbeyan Golf Club.

The 24-year-old from Northamptonshire is full of confidence coming off a tie for sixth in the ActewAGL Canberra Classic on Sunday and lies in 18th on the LET order of merit after three tournaments.

MacLaren won by two at Coffs Harbour Golf Club last year, but says she is not looking at it as a title defence.

“I haven’t defended a title since my amateur days in the British Ladies’ Strokeplay and I remember my coach at the time saying, ‘Don’t look at it as though you’re trying to defend the title, because you’re not defending anything. You just want to go out there and play your own game.’ I think that’s a nice way of approaching it,” she said.

“It’s a pretty nice position to be in. If you could go into every tournament like that, you’d be doing something right, so I’m not looking at it as defending the tournament, more going out and enjoying the atmosphere and the environment that being the past champion brings.”

MacLaren is enjoying her time in Australia and prior to the Canberra Classic, she finished tied for 16th in the Australian Ladies Classic, tied 22nd in the Australian Open and missed the cut in the Vic Open.

“I love it out here,” she said. “If I could play out here all year then I would. It just relaxes me and I think the run of tournaments gives me a chance to get into my game and figure things out along the way. I would say my game’s in a better place than last year, so that can only be a good thing.”

“My game’s been trending in the right direction since I got to Australia so it’s nice to keep creeping up the leader board and if I can move up another few spots this week then I’ll be in a pretty good position.

“Because this is four rounds rather than three there’s a little bit more time to build your way into the tournament. You can’t win it on the first day, but you can lose it, so it’s about keeping the mistakes away.”