Stephanie Meadow went up the gears early to fire a superb bogey-free five-under par 67 on day one of the Kia Classic at Carlsbad.
The Jordanstown professional has been trending in the right direction of late and it all seemed to click in California she signed off on an opening salvo that gave her an early share of the lead and ultimately sees her in outright second after day one.
Meadow’s stats were solid across the board having hit 13 of 14 fairways and 15 of 18 greens in regulation, while she needed just 28 putts to get around at Aviara Golf Club.“I just hit a bunch fairways and a bunch of greens and rolled some putts in and it was pretty stress-free golf, which is always nice,” said Meadow.
It’s a time of year that Meadow seems to relish having this week last year recaptured that winning feeling at the Symetra Tour’s IOA Championship which is being held just 90 miles away in Beaumont, which set her on the path to the LPGA for this season. Now just two shots off South Korean, Chella Choi’s lead, she’ll hope to put herself in a winning position come Sunday once more.
“There are some really awesome girls out there that are really good players. I kept saying to people, If you win on Symetra and you can Top 5 every week, you’re going to be able to compete out here, too. The Tour has gotten so much better in the last five years.”
It’s early days in the tournament but after a series of destructive injuries over the past number of years, it’s great to see Meadow slowly returning to her brilliant best.
This week’s Kia Classic is one of the LPGA Tour’s strongest fields, with 88 players out of the 144-strong line-up representing 27 countries outside of the United States. 45 of the top-50 players on the 2018 Official Money List are in action while 20 of the top-25 players on the Rolex Women’s World Golf Rankings also tee up, including nine of the top-10 players in the world. So far, Meadow is measuring up quite well to the challenge of such an illustrious pack.