Meadow's field of dreams at Blackwolf
FIVE DAYS after winning the women’s British Open Amateur title Stephanie Meadow this afternoon steps on to the biggest stage of her career so far and rubs shoulders with the greatest professionals in the world in the women’s US Open Championship.
Victory at Carnoustie on Saturday gave the 20-year-old Curtis Cup star from Royal Portrush the right to take the field in the US and British Opens – and she intends to grab the opportunity with open arms. She will not tee off until the evening in one of the last groups at the Blackwolf Run Course in Kohler, Wisconsin.
Playing with her will be another former British champion Carlota Ciganda and American Gigi Still.
A 21-year-old qualifier finds herself one of the main attractions at the event. Cheyenne Woods is the niece of 14-major winner Tiger and, after turning professional earlier this season, this is her debut in her national championship.
“I’ve not necessarily had advice, but support,” said the Wake Forest graduate. “That’s probably the biggest thing I can get – knowing he’s excited I’m here. He’s the best player in the world and I have him at my fingertips if I need help. It’s nice to have.
“Watching Tiger play as I grew up I knew I wanted to get out there one day. I’ve grown up with the expectations and the pressure and I think that it has helped me get to where I am and prepare me for this next level.”
The first time she watched her uncle play came before her second birthday – she was in a pushchair at the 1992 Los Angeles Open when he made his PGA Tour debut aged 16.
Making the cut – something her uncle did not do that week – is the goal for Woods, but for world number one Yani Tseng it is to complete a career Grand Slam. Only two years older than Woods, she has two British Women’s Opens, two LPGA Championships and one Kraft Nabisco, but has a best finish of 10th in the US Open.
“I think it’s nerves and pressure because the very first tournament I watched is the US Open when I was 13. My dream was playing it, now I’m trying to think of winning it – it’s a very big step for me.”
The winner when Tseng was 13 was American Juli Inkster and, now 52, she is playing the championship for the 33rd time. That equals the record of Marlene Hagge for the most appearances by a champion.