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Rio Olympics: Stephanie Meadow is upbeat despite awful start

By Ben Baker

Stephanie Meadow's dream Olympic debut quickly turned into a nightmare and the Jordanstown golfer was left scratching her head looking for answers after opening with a six-over 77.

Yesterday should have been a momentous occasion for Meadow as she and her rivals saw women's golf return to the Olympic Games for the first time in over 100 years.

But in a microcosm of Ireland's whole Rio 2016 adventure - the news that IOC chief Patrick Hickey had been arrested over a ticket scandal broke while Meadow was out on the course - the 24-year-old struggled to fly out of the blocks.

Read more: Rio Olympics 2016: Live blog, full events schedule and medals tables

Meadow bogeyed the first two holes and while she got a shot back on the fifth, that was as good as it got as she was five over through the back nine.

In the end she was back in the clubhouse with a six-over 77 and knows she has it all to do over the next three days of competition.

"That was not good at all and I am very disappointed to play the way that I did," Meadow said.

"I made a lot of big mistakes and it definitely wasn't what I expected in terms of how I had been playing. I didn't get off to the best of starts but I kind of recovered and I had a birdie putt from maybe five feet on nine to get back to even par.

"I ended up making a double bogey on 10 after hitting a bad tee-shot and having to take an unplayable. And from that 10, 11 and 13 are really hard holes so then you try and push it and nothing happens.

"It is just one of those things and I have three more days so hopefully I can come back and put something nice together."

Meadow wasn't the only golfer on the Ireland team to struggle with Ulster woman Leona Maguire finishing three over par.

But despite her and her teammates' struggles, Meadow was full of praise for the Olympic Golf Course in Rio.

"The course is great," she added. "It is unusual because there are either really short holes or really long holes and it is not our typical seven or eight iron course. That gives a great opportunity for some good birdies if your wedge play is on point.

"They did a great job and they definitely set it up for a great Olympics."

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