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Wednesday, January 27, 2021

Meadow just two back at Pelican Women’s Championship

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Stephanie Meadow fired a stunning five-under par round of 65 to move to within just two shots of the lead at the halfway stage of the LPGA Tour’s Pelican Women’s Championship.

Starting from the tenth tee, the Jordanstown professional was in electric form around Belleair in Florida, recovering from a bogey at her first hole to pick up two shots to make the turn in one-under par, minus-two for the tournament.

However, it was on the back nine that the Irish Olympian caught fire, picking up four shots in her last five holes to jump to six-under par for the tournament, just two strokes behind South Korea’s Sei Young Kim. Meadow was almost exemplary from the tee on Friday, hitting 13 of 14 fairways but it was her putting that really stood out, just 24 strokes of the short blade needed to reach the clubhouse in 65.

“My back [second] nine was awesome. Played really solid,” said Meadow. “The front nine I barely hit any greens and made a ton of up and downs. Kept my cool on my front nine, the back nine, and was able to make some birdies coming in, which was nice.”

Meadow said she’s starting to feel more comfortable and confident in her play. Since the LPGA Tour’s restart she has missed two cuts, but has struggled to find the consistency she had to start 2020 when she had her season-best finish at the ISPS Handa Women’s Australian Open (T13). After a tied for 34th result at the LPGA Drive On Championship—Reynolds Lake Oconee, Meadow notices things beginning to turn around in her game.

“I’ve had a lot of really consistent finishes this year, a lot around T30, and, you know, just haven’t gotten everything to click,” said added. “So just kept telling myself at some point you are going to putt well, hit it good and get some good breaks all in the same week, and so far that is what’s happening.”

Joining Meadow in the weekend field in Florida was Cavan’s Leona Maguire who advanced to the business end of the tournament without her A-game. Maguire posted her second successive two-over par round of 72 to be sharing 57th ahead of moving day where she’ll be hoping to hit the forward gears from her 36-hole tally of four-over par.

It’s Kim who leads atop the board at eight-under par after matching Meadow’s 65 in a flawless bogey-free opening effort. She heads American Ally McDonald by a single stroke with Open Champion Sophia Popov alongside Meadow in a tie for third.

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