Wednesday 13 December 2017

Meadow joy at adding Ladies title to Portrush honour roll

Stephanie Meadow. Photo: Getty Images
Stephanie Meadow. Photo: Getty Images

Chris Smart

Stephanie Meadow kept the Royal Portrush bandwagon rolling at the weekend as she claimed the Ladies British Open Amateur title, the first Northern Ireland player to do so for 33 years since Maureen Madill lifted the trophy at Nairn.

Her success, achieved on one of Britain's toughest links courses in Carnoustie, comes just three weeks after she holed the winning putt which gave GB&I the Curtis Cup for the first time for 16 years.

It was only seven days earlier that Alan Dunbar, also a member of Royal Portrush, won the Amateur Championship at Troon.

"There must be something in the Scottish air," quipped the new champion.

Meadow, the 20-year-old Alabama student, is the first Irish holder of this crown since Lillian Behan in 1985, and one of the rewards for victory is invitation to the Ricoh British Women's Open at Royal Liverpool in September.

She fought her way through qualifying for last year's Women's Open at Carnoustie but failed to make the cut and hopes to do better this time.

"I am truly speechless. It has been a heck of a month for me. And having two British champions in the same club can't be bad," she said after beating Spaniard Rocio Sanchez Lobato 4&3 in the 18-hole final.

She and her family have been based in America for the past five years and after clinching the title, Meadow insisted that she did not think she could have made such progress and achieved so much success if she had not crossed the Atlantic.

"I have had three or four different coaches and all have made major contributions to my development," said Meadow, who returns to the States today and plans to play the American Women's Amateur Championship next month and for Ireland in the World Championships in Turkey.

She made a flying start to the final, winning three of the first four holes all after knocking in sizeable putts. She turned for home three-up and then went four ahead with a birdie at the 11th and kept up the momentum.

Earlier, she defeated Dorset teenager Georgia Hall 3&2 in the semi-finals after never being behind.

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