As professional debuts go, Stephanie Meadow’s decision to make her bow at Pinehurst in the US Women’s Open will be hard to top.
The 22-year-old, originally from Jordanstown, takes her first steps this week as a fully paid up member of the pro ranks at the iconic venue in North Carolina.
After a stellar amateur career, one that included two Curtis Cup appearances, Meadow feels the ‘time is right’.
“I have completed my degree at the University of Alabama and it’s the perfect moment to come here and make this my first event,” said Meadow who moved with her entire family to the United States as a 14-year-old.
“This is the right time and I am definitely ready. I have waited a long time for this moment.”
When the Meadow family made the decision to emigrate to America some eight years ago it was probably considered something of a risky move but, rather like Graeme McDowell, Stephanie flourished in the Collegiate system, winning numerous awards.
A member of Royal Portrush Ladies, Stephanie has already played in a US Open as an amateur, the 2012 staging at Blackwolf Run in Kohler, Wisconsin and is in something of a hurry to get going.
“I am just excited to be a professional, I have dreamed about it for so long,” she added.
“To finally get it organised, to wake up and be able to say I am a professional, was great.
“As regards the US Open, at the end of the day, it is still golf course, a ball and a hole. Not much changes really, you just carry a bigger bag.”
Meadow had indicated that the Curtis Cup [at the start of June] would be her last event as an amateur but the official announcement was delayed by on-going administrative efforts to get her visa extended.
The issue has had a knock-on effect on her ability to make concrete plans involving signing contracts etc, but she is hopeful the matter will be addressed in a couple of weeks.
As it is, the planning process for the weeks after the US Open continues with Stephanie looking to sort out a schedule of events.
“It is very flexible at the minute,” she added.
“I will try and Monday qualify as often as I can for LPGA events and I also have an exemption into Symetra Tour event in August.
“I have written to a number of events in the hope of getting an invite. A lot of them haven’t made any decisions yet so it is really a case of waiting to see.
“I don’t think I will be playing much in Europe. I will focus on America and go to Q-School in the States.
“That’s the plan at the moment, but it could change. I have entered the final qualifying for the Women’s British Open at Royal Birkdale next month, but I will make a decision on that nearer the time.”