Stephanie Meadow secures top-10 finish in PGA at Congressional

Major won by South Korea’s In Gee Chun

Stephanie Meadow secured a wonderful top-10 in the KPMG Women’s PGA at Congressional Country Club, the Northern Irishwoman’s best finish in a major since her third place in the 2014 US Open.

In a championship won by South Korea’s In Gee Chun, who benefited from late bogeys suffered by Lexi Thompson who’d gained control until the final stretch of holes, Meadow produced a closing round of 74 for a level-par aggregate of 288, five strokes behind the winner.

In tough conditions, Meadow, enjoying a very solid season on the LPGA Tour, suffered three bogeys in her opening seven holes but birdied the ninth to turn in 38 and then bounced back from a bogey on the 11th with a birdie on the 12th before reeling off six straight pars to finish.

Leona Maguire also finished with a 74, for a total of 297, seven-over-par, which left the Co Cavan golfer in tied-54th place.

Thompson was aiming for just her second major title having claimed her first in 2014 and led by two strokes with nine holes to play but suffered late heartbreak, her old bugbear of missing short putts again returning to haunt her as victory slipped from her grasp. She had a 10 footer on the 18th to tie Chun but left the putt short of the cup.

Having opened with a course record 64 to claim a five stroke lead after the first round, Chun came back to the field and shot a pair of 75s over the weekend which was sufficient to claim her a third career major title.

Rory McIlroy completed his four-week stint of events with a tied-19th finish in the Travelers Championship at TPC Highlands in Cromwell, Connecticut, where a closing round 67 gave him a total of 271, nine-under-par. McIlroy has a week off from tournament play this week and will then play in next week’s two-day JP McManus Invitational Pro-Am at Adare Manor ahead of preparing for the following week’s 150th Open at St Andrews.

Séamus Power, who is one of the headline acts at this week’s Horizon Irish Open, finished his tournament with a closing 70 for a total of 272 which left him in tied-24th.

On the DP World Tour, China’s Haotong Li ended his four-year drought since his last win by beating Belgium’s Thomas Pieters in a play-off, holing a monster putt for birdie, to complete a wire-to-wire win in the BMW International Open in Munich.

Li, who had considered giving up the sport 10 months ago after a dip in form, last won in the 2018 Dubai Desert Classic at which point he was a regular inside the world’s top-50. He was ranked 265th heading into the German event. “I couldn’t eat or sleep last night, probably slept five hours max. but I dreamed about holding the trophy, said Li who’d finished tied with Pieters on 22-under-par 266.

Niall Kearney, after making the cut on the mark, made a big move over the weekend with rounds of 66-69 to finish in tied-15th place on 275. The Dubliner has received a sponsor’s invitation into this week’s Horizon Irish Open, which starts at Mount Juliet on Thursday.

On the Challenge Tour, Derry’s Ruaidhrí McGee – playing in just his third event in 21 months after stepping back from tour golf during the more severe Covid restrictions – carded a final round 69 for a total of 270, which came up just one shot adrift of England’s Alfie Plant in the Blot Open de Bretagne in France.

Philip Reid

Philip Reid

Philip Reid is Golf Correspondent of The Irish Times