Golf: Stephanie Meadow flies flag for Portrush with title
ANOTHER week, another Amateur champion from Portrush.
Seven days after Alan Dunbar’s victory in the blue riband event of the men’s game, Stephanie Meadow made it a dream double for the County Antrim town yesterday as she claimed the women’s equivalent at Carnoustie.
With these two notable triumphs coming hot on the heels of major wins by Graeme McDowell (2010 US Open) and Darren Clarke (2011 Open Championship), Portrush players are on quite a roll.
“To have two Amateur champions out of the same place is pretty impressive – it must be something to do with the water,” said Meadow, with a smile, after beating Spaniard Rocio Sanchez Lobato 4 and 3 in the 18-hole final.
It was the second time in just three weeks that the 20-year-old found herself savouring success on Scottish soil. Earlier in the month, at Nairn, she clinched the winning point for Great Britain & Ireland in their dramatic Curtis Cup victory. The win saw Meadow, who is originally from Jordanstown, just outside Belfast, but now lives in America, is the first Northern Ireland player to lift the title since Maureen Madill at Nairn in 1979.
“It’s been a hell of a month – one of the best ever,” added Meadow.
With the sound of gunfire from the nearby Barry Buddon range echoing across the Angus course, Meadow came out of the traps like a bullet to leave Sanchez Lobato, a 19-year-old from Marbella, facing an uphill fight in her bid to become the fifth Spaniard to lift the title in a decade. Wide with her approach at the first, Meadow produced an exquisite chip from the thick rough to ten feet and rolled in the putt to immediately go one up. A par-4 also proved good enough at the second, where Sanchez Lobato was bunkered off the tee but almost salvaged a half as her 25-foot putt horse-shoed out.
After the third was halved in birdies the diminutive Irish girl went three up with a birdie at the fourth, holing from 12 feet.
Meadow’s first mistake of the match – she found sand off the tee – cost her the fifth, but the Spaniard made a mess of the sixth before losing the seventh as well to go four down.
To her credit, Sanchez Lobato, who’d ended the run of highly-rated French player Perrine Delacour in the last four, refused to throw in the towel. Indeed, against some players she’d probably have turned the match around with the help of three birdies in the next seven holes.
Meadow, though, was not to be denied. She bagged three birdies herself in that stretch, the pick of them being a two at the 13th, where she almost added icing to her cake with a hole-in-one. Her turn on the big stage will come at Hoylake in September, having earned herself a spot in the British Women’s Open.
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Weather for Edinburgh
Sunday 19 May 2013
Temperature: 9 C to 16 C
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Wind direction: North east
Temperature: 9 C to 20 C
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