Sport Golf

Sunday 18 February 2018

Curtis star Meadow turns focus to Close

Liam Kelly

Liam Kelly

STEPHANIE MEADOW and Leona Maguire will tee it up in the Irish Women's Close Championship at County Louth on Saturday less than a week after helping Great Britain and Ireland win the Curtis Cup at Nairn.

Meadow and Maguire, face a huge challenge to raise their game again for the blue riband event of Irish women's golf.

Alabama-based Meadow, of Royal County Down, kept her nerve admirably on Sunday to produce the crucial point that won the Cup for GB & I for the first time in 16 years.

Overall, the two Irish representatives contributed 4.5 points of the 10.5 winning total, with Meadow claiming three from four, while Maguire had 1.5 from four appearances, but it was all about the team effort.

At the weekend, the focus turns back to individual performance.

Competitors face 36 holes stroke-play qualifying for the Leitrim Cup on Saturday with the top 32 entering the match-play stages on Sunday.

Meadow, who has lived in America for six years, has never won the Close title.

The Slieve Russell twins have each won the championship once -- Leona in 2008 and Lisa in '09. The Cavan girls have resumed working with coach Shane O'Grady of Black Bush, who guided their development through their formative years.

Through the winter the twins had sessions with well-respected coach Seamus Duffy of the Darren Clarke Academy, but they are now back under O'Grady's tutelage.

Meanwhile, over 500 competitors are expected to take part in the 52nd staging of the prestigious Castle All-Ireland Father & Son Foursomes Competition. Qualifying will take place on Saturday and Sunday, July 7/8. Match play starts on July 9, and the final is on July 15. Entry costs €70 per pair.

Irish Independent

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