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Amateur Golf: Meadow’s win shows it’s not only the boys who are top in Ulster

By Peter Hutcheon

The Big Three may have come up short at the Irish Open, but there was more incredible Northern Ireland success at the weekend in the shape of Stephanie Meadow's win at the British Amateur Championship at Carnoustie.

Following on from Alan Dunbar's win last weekend at Royal Troon, Meadow completed a magnificent Ulster double when she beat Spain's Rocio Sanchez Lobato four and three.

Unlike Dunbar's victory when he needed to win the last two holes to secure the title, the 20-year-old's success was almost never in doubt.

The Royal Portrush golfer won the first two holes to establish a lead which her opponent was never really able to threaten.

Another win at the fourth stretched the lead to three up and, although Lobato did manage to pull one back with a win on the fifth, Meadow again pulled away by winning the next two holes.

The Spaniard narrowed the gap again at the eighth, but Meadow (pictured), a student at the University of Alabama, was still three up by the turn and made it four when she won the 11th.

Lobato did at least manage to win the 12th hole, but Meadow again pulled four clear with a win on the 13th.

But, when the 14th and 15th holes were both halved in par, time had run out for the Spaniard as Meadow closed out the win.

“I had only one bogey all day, so I must have been four under for the holes we played,” she said.

“That's very good going round a place as tough as Carnoustie.

“I didn’t putt well in the morning semi-final win over Georgia Hall but a lunchtime session made the difference for the final.”

Meadow defeated Amy Boulden and Ariane Provot to make it through to the last four, after defeating Emily Taylor and Nathalie Mansson.

Before taking on Lobato in the final she saw off Georgia Hall three and two in the semi-final on Saturday morning.

“It’s been a dream month for me,” she added.

“First I was in the Alabama team that won the NCAA women’s championship for the first time. Then I helped GB and Ireland beat the United States in the Curtis Cup for the first time since 1996.

“And now I have won the British Open amateur championship for the first time.

“I couldn’t have done any of that if my mum and dad had not moved our home from Jordanstown to America in 2006.

“I'm having a fantastic time of my life and I want to play on the LPGA Tour when I am a little bit older. First, I have another two years at university, studying accountancy.”

Coming on the back of her Curtis Cup performance, when she holed the winning putt for Great Britain and Ireland, it has been quite a summer so far for Meadow.

She might well have added the Irish Amateur title to her haul of victories shortly afterwards, but lost out on the final green to Leona Maguire, her Curtis Cup partner.

Meadow is only the second player from Northern Ireland to win the prestigious title, following on from Maureen Madill's success in 1979 at Nairn.

Meadow's Royal Portrush club played host to the championship last year when it was won by England's Lauren Taylor, who beat Frenchwoman Alexandra Bonetti six and five in the final.

As the actual championship cup is held by the Ladies' Golf Union, Meadow will have the Pam Barton Memorial Salver to keep on her mantelpiece for the next 12 months.

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