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Big earner, quick learner Meadow has everything it takes to become a star

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Stephanie Meadow

Stephanie Meadow

Stephanie Meadow

EARNING and learning are the two key functions of the tour golfer, and Stephanie Meadow performed well enough on both fronts in her drama-packed first six months as a professional to suggest a glittering future for the Jordanstown native.

Third place behind Michelle Wie in June's US Open got Meadow's career off to a spectacular start. However, 2014 ended in anguish as she was pipped for a full LPGA Tour card in the US on the 11th hole of sudden death at Q-School.

An eye-popping $271,373 cheque banked at Pinehurst, followed quickly by another third place at the Ladies European Masters, boosted her gross income to well over ¤265,586 in 2014. Yet the lessons Meadow, 23 next Tuesday, gleaned from her "mini-rookie season" were priceless.

As she proved during her college days at Alabama University, which yielded record-breaking results on the golf course and splendid academic achievement off it, Meadow is a quick learner. The way in which she has turned her Q-School heartbreak into a positive force is particularly impressive.

"Obviously I was disappointed initially but successful people are those who look at life situations in a positive way and that's what I'm doing now," she says. "If I'd not lost out by that one shot, I might not have worked as hard as I did this winter. I look on it as a kind of driving force."

When her 19th place at the Yokohama LPGA Classic is included, the $285,102 Meadow banked in the US last season would have been good enough for 58th on the 2014 tour money list. Yet she needed $160,000 more to match 40th place and earn her card, which helps explain, in part, the pressure that led her to miss cuts in three of four regular LPGA events played.

"I missed a few cuts but it wasn't much to do with my golf," she says. "I was trying to make enough money to get my card and you have to learn how to handle that.

"I learned a lot about myself. For example, I'd never played that many tournaments in a row. . . you have to learn how to balance your schedule.

"It's a matter of trying to settle in, do the right things and not worry about anyone else. If I can concentrate on what I need to do, I can get the job done and it's nice to know that I can compete."

Meadow's conditional status is unlikely to get her into any LPGA events before late March, so she hopes to pre-qualify for the season's first event, the Coates Championship in Ocala, Florida (January 28-31), before accepting invites to play in two Ladies European Tour events in Australia in February.

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The fighter shines through when she insists: "I still have an opportunity, if I play well at the beginning of the year to pretty much have full (LPGA Tour) status by mid-season."

Don't bet against it.


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