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Stephanie Meadow's LPGA great escape a 'kick in the ass' for her


Ireland's Stephanie Meadow. Photo: Brendan Moran/Sportsfile

Ireland's Stephanie Meadow. Photo: Brendan Moran/Sportsfile

Ireland's Stephanie Meadow. Photo: Brendan Moran/Sportsfile

Stephanie Meadow believes the stress of fighting for her LPGA livelihood for the second time in three years could be just the “kick in the ass” she needs to get back to her best.

The Jordanstown star (29) finished 47th in the Pelican Women’s Championship to clinch 100th in the Race to CME Globe Points list, pipping 101st-ranked Celine Herbin of France by the tiny margin of just 2.32 points to avoid the eight-round Q-Series.

“At the end of the day, I’m proud of how I competed,” said a relieved Meadow, who also saved her skin with a 72nd-hole birdie in the final event in 2019. “It wasn’t easy and it was a lot of stress.

“But I’ve got to feed off it now because I’m at the point where I’ve been through it twice, and I never want to be in that position ever again.”

Average putting proved costly for Meadow (left) this year and while she finished seventh in the Olympics in Tokyo, it didn’t count on the LPGA Tour where fellow Olympian Leona Maguire putted the lights out to take her career earnings beyond $1 million (€878,275) and make the top 60 who contest this week’s CME Globe Tour Championship.

“I’m very proud of Leona and I think it’s great for golf in Ireland,” said Meadow, who made 11 of 20 cuts.

“The stats show that Leona is an incredible putter, but I don’t think my putting was really that great all year when it’s usually something that’s pretty good.

“Good putters can play poorly and still make par saves, and if they play well, they make birdies. It’s such a big game-changer and momentum swinger.

“The unfortunate thing this year was that I played my best golf at the Olympics and that didn’t really count for anything as far as the LPGA goes.

“I did have snippets of playing well, but I know I can do so much better. So the motivation is there.”

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One of golf’s great battlers, Meadow plans to get home for a short break around Christmas time, but she’s determined to stay sharp over the winter and make a fast start to 2022.

“After everything I’ve learned the last two years, I’d really like to get off to a better start to the season,” she said with a laugh. “Once you go through something like that twice, I’m not sure I could survive it a third time.

“I want to make sure I’m out there competing and maybe that’s the kick in the ass I needed. It’s definitely given me some motivation because it wasn’t much fun.”