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Saturday, June 12, 2021

Meadow credits college putter for unearthing missing spark

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Stephanie Meadow has revealed that an old putter she used regularly during her Alabama days turned into the magic wand she’d been missing en route to a tied career-best result at last week’s Pelican Women’s Championship.

The Jordanstown professional recovered from bogeys at her opening two holes on Sunday to grind out a one-under par round of 69 and claim outright third – her best result since a stunning podium finish at the 2014 US Women’s Open. The 28-year old’s nine-under par 271 total was also a career best tally with putting figures of 27, 24, 28 and 31 over the four rounds largely contributing to a massive payday of $98,088 for the Northern Irishwoman.

“I went back to a putter which I used to use in university,” Meadow told Joe Molloy on Monday’s Off The Ball. “Whatever it is about it, the specifications suit me perfectly and I have so much more confidence with it. I put it back in the bag in Georgia about three weeks ago and I could just see it breathe life back into my putting.”

“There’s a reason I putted with it for so long,” she smiled. “I’d had three different putters in as many weeks and just couldn’t find anything and I went to the garage and there it was. Thankfully I found it and I’ve actually got a back-up made of it, in case anything happens to that one! When you start rolling in a few putts, everything else builds momentum from there and I’m hoping I can keep my foot to the ground here and keep going for the rest of the year.”

The omens are certainly strong for Meadow who moves on to the Volunteers of America Classic off the back of last week’s result. Her previous best 72-hole tally of 274 came at last year’s VOA, an event she’ll be arriving at high on confidence given her stunning performance at Pelican.

Sadly, her place in the final major of the golfing calendar – the US Women’s Open a week later in Houston – the stage where Meadow announced herself to the golfing world in 2016 – looks to have passed her by but now up to 35th on the Race to CME Globe, Meadow also has the end of season Tour Championship to look forward to in Naples, Florida on December 17. After a year where golf schedules, particularly women’s golf events, felt the full impact of Covid-19, Meadow is making up for lost time and then some, admitting she’s far from finished as the season’s end draws near.

“My biggest goal for the whole year was to make it into the Tour Championship, that’s top 60 on the points list and I’m now up to 35th so it’s nice to achieve that goal,” Meadow added. “It’s a huge confidence boost and something I’ll be able to take into next year. I’ve been pretty consistent and I’ve only missed two cuts, finishing in the 30s and 40s and that’s what you have to do out here.  It’s also nice financially and eases a bit of pressure.”

“There’s a bit more pep in your step when you’re contending, in golf we don’t get to win very often, even the best in the world don’t, so any time you have a chance then that’s what we thrive on.  I made two early bogeys on Sunday and I said to myself, ‘I’m not doing this, I’m not going to let this slip through my fingers’. And I didn’t!”

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