Belfast Telegraph

Friday 24 October 2014

Stephanie Meadow lands top three US Open spot

Dream debut: Stephanie Meadow shone at Pinehurst

Stephanie Meadow performed heroics on her first professional outing by finishing third at the US Women's Open at Pinehurst in North Carolina.

The 22-year-old Royal Portrush golfer only turned pro leading up to the women's Major, but produced four outstanding rounds.

Back-to-back rounds of 69 saw her soar into the top three places behind only American duo Stacy Lewis and Michelle Wie.

Champion Wie claimed top spot after finishing on two under par following a level par final round.

Meadow finished in style with a birdie at the final hole for a total score of one over – just three shots behind Wie and one shot behind Lewis.

Meanwhile, Neil Bradley won the 119th Amateur Championship at Royal Portrush following a 2&1 victory over Zander Lombard in a 36-hole matchplay final.

The Scottish golfer was four up through 14 and although his South African opponent won the next two holes, Bradley was able to secure the notable victory with a par on the 17th green.

He had been in ominous form on Saturday as he breezed through his quarter-final with Iceland's Haraldur Magnus, eventually winning 7&6, before overcoming his compatriot Connor Smye 2&1 in the last-four.

And although the final was level after both 18 and 27 holes, the 18-year-old's composure shone through over the back nine as Lombard shot over par four times in five holes.

Bradley – who hails from Blairgowrie in the west of Scotland – will now play at next month's Open Championship at Royal Liverpool, Hoylake as well as the 2015 US Open at Chambers Bay and can expect an invitation to compete in next year's Masters at Augusta.

"It means a lot to me to have the chance to compete with major champions in the Open," the 18-year-old said.

"It will be fantastic, it will be a strong test and it will be good to see how my game copes.

"Zander is a brilliant guy and we have been good friends for the last six months.

"He is a very strong, determined player. He didn't make it easy for me.

"He's got a lot of game and he is a really good talent."

Lombard, 19, who was hoping to become only the second South African winner after Bobby Cole in 1966, said: "I'm very pleased with my achievement.

"My golf's been good all week. We both played really solid today and I have to say thumbs up to Bradley, he's an awesome golfer with a lot of talent."

Quarter-finals: Sean Towndrow beat Daniel Brown after 19 holes; Zander Lombard beat Paul Howard 3&2; Neil Bradley beat Haraldur Magnus 7&6; Connor Smye beat Jamie Savage after 19 holes.

Semi-finals: Zander Lombard beat Sean Towndrow by one hole; Neil Bradley beat Connor Smye 2&1.

Final: Neil Bradley beat Connor Smye 2&1.

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