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Saturday, June 12, 2021

Meadow in final group after moving day 68 at Pelican

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Stephanie Meadow will go into the final round of the LPGA Tour’s Pelican Women’s Championship with the leader in her sights as she chases a maiden LPGA Tour title, albeit from six strokes back.

The Jordanstown professional broke 70 for the third time this week, making birdie at three of her closing five holes to sign for a two-under par round of 68. Again brilliant from the tee, Meadow found 13 of 14 fairways, needing 28 putts and at eight-under par, she trails South Korean Sei Young Kim by six strokes ahead of the final day.

After her second round on Friday, Meadow admitted that 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 has noticed that things are beginning to turn around in her game, as is evident this week in Pelican.

“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 said. “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.”

Meanwhile, Leona Maguire broke 70 for the first time this week in carding a one-under par round of 69 that saw her move into a share of 33rd at three-over. Out in 37 with three bogeys on her card, the Cavan professional picked up three birdies in a blemish-free inward half of 32 and finds herself now three strokes off the current top-20 on the board.

At the top, Kim answered Ally McDonald’s ace with a late birdie run to open a five-stroke lead in her first event since winning the KPMG Women’s PGA a month and half ago. The second-ranked Kim shot a six-under 64 at Pelican Golf Club. 

“She made a hole-in-one, we almost one-shot lead,” Kim said. “I got a little bit pressure, but I try to focus on my game.”

McDonald shot 68. She had the hole-in-one on the par-3 12th and birdied the par-5 14th to get close to Kim. The American dropped a stroke on the par-4 16th.

“It was playing like 115 front, 127 hole, and there was a little bit of downwind,” McDonald said. “So, I thought a 115 shot, just playing the front edge, would be enough to pitch it a few yards on and let it release. Honestly, this is kind of how my strategy works, was everything told me to look a couple paces right of it, so I did. That’s kind of my strategy, because I wasn’t looking at the hole, but then it went in.”

Kim’s victory last month at Aronimink was her 11th on the LPGA Tour and first major title: “I feel like same, but when standing on the first tee, like announcer,`This is a major champion, Sei Young Kim.’ When I heard that, feels like, `Oh, yeah, I got that.'”

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