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Meadow sticks around for the weekend at Royal Troon as Maguire and Mehaffey make early exits at Women's Open

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Stephanie Meadow was the only local player to make the cut at Royal Troon

Stephanie Meadow was the only local player to make the cut at Royal Troon

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Stephanie Meadow was the only local player to make the cut at Royal Troon

Stephanie Meadow will fly the Irish flag by herself at the AIG Women’s Open Championship after being the only local player to make the halfway cut at Royal Troon.

The Galgorm Castle touring professional turned in her second consecutive round of 75 to sit eight-over-par for the week, inside the cut mark, and will be among the first groups out for tomorrow’s third round.

However, it was not such good news for Cavan’s Leona Maguire or Royal County Down amateur Olivia Mehaffey, who will not be sticking around for the weekend after finishing at 10-over and 12-over-par respectively.

In horrendous conditions on the west coast of Scotland for the second consecutive day, not too dissimilar to that of a hurricane, it was Dani Holmqvist who rose to the top of the leaderboard at the halfway stage, the Swede the only player to sit under par after her one-under 70 left her at the same score overall.

Austin Ernst (USA) and Sophia Popov (Germany) are her nearest challengers just one shot back at level-par, with a group of five players lurking at one-over too.

That leaves Meadow a long way off the pace going into the final two rounds, but the Jordanstown ace will no doubt be delighted to have made the weekend after she needed a late show just to scrape inside the cut mark.

A late birdie at the par-three 17th rescued her weekend after she scrambled to recover from an early triple-bogey at the par-four second, making the cut with a stroke to spare after dropping a further three shots, but countering with two birdies, including that impressive one at the 17th.

It was agony for Maguire, however, as she just missed out, the Slieve Russell ace dropping three shots on her inward nine on her way to a four-over 75 that left her with too much to do to get into Saturday and Sunday’s draw.

Mehaffey, meanwhile, will take a lot from what should be the first of many Major appearances throughout her career, and was able to score three birdies in her second round 77 as she also bowed out early at Troon.

Defending champion Hinako Shibuno (Japan) will not be around for the weekend either after struggling in the conditions and finishing at 12-over, while Brooke Henderson (Canada), Lexi Thompson (USA) and 2019 World Invitational runner-up Charley Hull (England) also fell foul of the weather and missed the cut.

Meanwhile, Graeme McDowell’s FedExCup race is run after he failed to undo Thursday’s horror opening round and missed the cut at the first play-off event, The Northern Trust in Boston, Massachusetts.

With only the top-70 in the FedExCup rankings progressing to next week’s BMW Championship, McDowell needed to go low in his second round after his opening six-over-par 77 at TPC Boston to stand any chance of improving his 113th-placed ranking.

However, the Rathmore man could only sign for a further one-over-par 72 which has him at seven-over for the tournament, and currently projected to fall two places to 115th in the FedExCup, meaning he will not be heading to Olympia Fields for next week’s BMW or to East Lake for the Tour Championship.

Defending Open champion Shane Lowry’s PGA Tour season is also over early despite carding a much better two-under 69 in his second round, however he too missed the cut, leaving him on the outside looking in.

Rory McIlroy, who was at two-under after his opening round, was among the later starters knowing that his spot in next week’s event is guaranteed given he is eighth in the FedExCup standings.

On the European Tour, Cormac Sharvin and Jonathan Caldwell are both in for the weekend at the ISPS HANDA Wales Open at Celtic Manor, but both are a long way off the pace.

Sharvin (Ardglass) is the better of the two after a second round level-par 71 saw him reach the halfway mark at two-over-par, while Caldwell’s (Clandeboye) three-over 74 saw him fall back to four-over for the week, but still inside the cut mark.

Scotland’s Connor Syme leads the way at six-under-par heading into the weekend, closely followed by a group of six players — including Haotong Li, who was in the mix at the PGA Championship, and England’s Jordan Smith — in a tie for second at four-under.

Belfast Telegraph