Sporting Advent Calendar #9: Stephanie Meadow’s stunning bow at the US Open

Antrim woman makes debut at Pinehurst No.2 and finishes third with a cheque for €200k

On the third Sunday in June, history was made. As Martin Kaymer’s coronation as the new US Open champion was played out with all the assuredness of German mechanical engineering, the women, who would compete in their own US Open on the same Pinehurst No.2 course, arrived. It constituted the first time that the men’s and women’s championships were played in back-to-back weeks on the same course.

On that day, one those women to register was a new professional. Stephanie Meadow finished her amateur life at the Curtis Cup match two weeks previously, where she'd received a phone call from the USGA informing her that she moved from alternate status to securing a place in the field for the Major. The 22 year old marked her swansong to the amateur game by beating world number two-ranked amateur Allison Lee and was top points scorer for the losing Britain and Ireland team.

A whole new world awaited her at Pinehurst. After registering, she nipped inside the ropes as the final round of the men's US Open unfolded. Her targets were Rory McIlroy and Adam Scott, and she got to watch and, later, have a quick word with McIlroy. Afterwards, Meadow - along with her mother, Louise - headed for the practice range. Her work as a professional had started.

And what a week it proved to be. Meadow - who had won the Irish Girls' championship as a 14-year-old before moving with her family to Florida where she joined the Hank Haney Junior International Golf Academy and later enjoyed a golfing scholarship to the University of Alabama - played without fear and with tremendous skill, taking to the pro game like a duck to water.


A week after arriving on site and registering with the USGA, Meadow found herself featuring at the business end of affairs as the destination of the US Women's Open was played out. As it transpired, Michelle Wie - the long-time poster girl of the women's game - finally secured her breakthrough win in a Major, with then world number one Stacy Lewis chasing her home. It was Meadow, on her pro debut, who claimed third place on her own and a first ever payday for $271,373 (€199,455). The Ulsterwoman had made an immediate impact on her chosen career.

Philip Reid

Philip Reid

Philip Reid is Golf Correspondent of The Irish Times