Jordanstown girl Stephanie Meadow set for competitive European bow

Stephanie Meadow of Royal Portrush
Stephanie Meadow of Royal Portrush

Fresh from her eye-catching performance at the US Women’s Open, Stephanie Meadow will make her competitive bow in Europe at the ISPA Handa European Masters on Thursday.

Meadow, who hails from Jordanstown, finished third at Pinehurst, a remarkable performance on her professional debut, but she is trying to focus on the future and Thursday’s opening round at the Buckinghamshire GC.

“Just to be a pro is really exciting but I take a lot of confidence from the US Open,” said the 22-year-old who moved to America with her family some eight years ago.

“It’s one thing when you have a good week but you have to ground yourself again and remember to do your drills and all the stuff that makes you good. You’ve got to think about the new tournament and forget about last week.

“The greens are a lot easier here. It’s a birdie course whereas Pinehurst was more pars so I’m just getting back to attacking the pins again.

“It’s a little colder over here as well so the ball goes a little shorter. Other than that, it’s just quite an American style golf course so it’s pretty easy to adjust.

“I’m just going to stick to my game and see how I can do. That’s what I did last week. Obviously my game’s good so I have to see where that leaves me in the end.”

A member at Royal Portrush, Stephanie has been paired with young English star Charley Hull and the amateur phenomenon Minjee Lee for the opening two rounds.

“I know Charley as I played with her in the Curtis Cup in 2012 but I haven’t seen her in a while,” added Stephanie. “In fact, I haven’t seen her this week yet. And Minjee Lee I’ve played with a few times and she’s a good player so I think it’s fun that they can put a good pairing out like that.”

Stephanie is still trying to finalise her schedule for the rest of the season, and will be relying on tournament sponsors to give her invites however, the former University of Alabama golfer has pencilled in July 10 and qualifying for the Ricoh Women’s British Open at Royal Birkdale.

Meanwhile, Graeme McDowell will go in search of a successful title defence for the first time in his illustrious career at this week’s Alstom Open de France, but a world-class field stands between the Irishman and a repeat triumph at Le Golf National.
The world number 20 cruised to victory by four shots on the outskirts of Paris 12 months ago, but with his fellow major champion Martin Kaymer, rising star Victor Dubuisson and the current Race to Dubai leader Thomas Björn all in the field, McDowell will be hard pushed to match the feats of Jean-François Remesy, the last player to mount a successful defence of the title in 2004-2005.
McDowell’s last competitive appearance was in the Irish Open, where he narrowly missed out on delivering what would have been an emotional home victory. But a tied sixth finish was McDowell’s best performance in a stroke play event this season, and boosted his hopes of a fourth successive Ryder Cup pick.