Meadow lifts title to ensure more glory for Portrush
GOLF: 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 it at Nairn.
Her success, also achieved on Scottish soil on one of Britain’s toughest links courses, Carnoustie on the east coast, comes just three weeks after she holed the winning putt which gave Great Britain and Ireland the Curtis Cup for the first time for 16 years.
Only seven days earlier, Alan Dunbar, also a member of Royal Portrush, won the Amateur Championship at Troon.
“There must be something in the Scottish air,” quipped Meadow. She is the first Irish holder of this crown since Lilian Behan in 1985 – and one of the rewards for victory is exemption to the Ricoh British Women’s Open at Royal Liverpool in September, when she will be rubbing shoulders with some of the top professionals in the world.
She fought through qualifying for last year’s Ricoh 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 and 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 she did not think she could have made such progress and achieved so much success if she had not followed the path across 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 US today and plans to play in 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 as a result of knocking in sizeable putts. From that moment on there was never doubt about the result – she turned for home three up and then went four ahead with a birdie at the 11th and kept up momentum to record an easy victory.