Stephanie Meadow feels right at home with boyfriend and caddie, Kyle Kallan at Buffalo Dunes Golf Course this week.
The couple continued their consistent form of late as Meadow posted a 4-under par total in the first round of the Garden City Charity Classic on the Symetra Tour.
Above Stephanie Meadow with boyfriend and caddie, Kyle Kallan
“It is nice to not have to be out there alone and also to have someone to talk the shots through with helps me a lot,” said Meadow, who is coming off a tied for 28th result last week in the Sioux Falls GreatLIFE Challenge. “I don’t second guess myself, and not having to push around the big Investec bag is also very nice.”
Meadow has found success when Kallan has been on the bag this season. In their previous four events together, Meadow missed only one cut, capturing a tied for 26th finish at the Self Regional Healthcare Foundation Women’s Health Classic, ending the Four Winds Invitational tied for fourth and going solo second in the Empire State for the Danielle Downey Credit Union Classic.
Kallan however brings a wealth of experience with him. This year was his first caddying for Cheyenne Woods, currently No. 123 on the LPGA Tour official money list.
“That preparation, being ready to go and understanding what’s going on, staying engaged and in the game,” Kallan said. “With Cheyenne, coming down the stretch there was a lot of pressure. She had to play well the last three weeks, so I was there to help keep her calm in certain instances when we were trying to do too much. Letting her know that, ‘Hey, we don’t have to do this right now, you can wait later on, just play the game that we have been playing all year and see what happens.’ I learned a lot and that helps me to stay focused down the stretch here.”
Kallan will caddie the rest of the Symetra Tour season for Meadow, looking to consolidate her current position of third in the season long Volvik Race for the Card. With the Top 10 securing cards on the LPGA Tour for 2019 the duo are in a perfect position to secure a card with only four events left in the Symetra Tour season after this week.
“Just want to get it locked down sooner rather than later,” said Meadow, who has seven top-10 finishes in 2018, including one win. “I kind of knew it was going to be tighter than previous years judging that everyone is so bunched together. Doing the same thing I have, knowing I can go out there and win, it all shows there’s no reason why I can’t continue.”
At the top and three ahead of Meadow, it was another solid opening round from Janie Jackson who posted a 7-under par 65 that has her looking down on the rest of the 132-player field.
She heads into the weekend with a one-stroke lead over a group of five players. It is the same spot Jackson was in after day one of the FireKeepers Casino Hotel Championship.
“A big thing for me from last year to this year is I am more comfortable being out here and I learned how to handle situations a little bit better,” Jackson said after carding nine birdies and two bogeys on the afternoon. “I have put myself in good positions all season, I just haven’t been able to finish strong on the weekend. That’s something I am really going to try to do here.”
Over the years of this event in the Sunflower State, high winds have become a staple. From gusts up to 45 mph causing suspensions of play, to Mother Nature howling across the plains, what is known as the “norm” was anything but that today.
“Last year was a totally different tournament, a lot more wind,” said Jackson, who finished tied for 22nd in 2017 at 6-over par overall. “For Kansas, today was far less than average in terms of wind, I think it peaked at maybe 10 mph. It wasn’t too tough, the course is in great shape, soft and receptive, but this year compared to last is completely different so far because of the wind.”
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