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Meadow's stock rises after hitting course record

By Robert Jones

Northern Ireland's new rising star of the ladies golf circuit, Stephanie Meadow, produced another superb performance in a third place finish at the ISPS Handa Ladies European Masters at Buckinghamshire Golf Club yesterday.

Korea's IK Kim cruised to victory, taking a four-shot lead into the final round and was never in danger of being caught, firing four birdies in her first eight holes on the way to a closing 68.

At 18 under par, Kim finished five ahead of Australian Nikki Campbell, with Jordanstown girl Stephanie charging through the field to finish joint third on 11 under alongside Lee-Anne Pace and Caroline Masson with a 63, which equalled the course record set by Kim on Saturday.

US-based Meadow, who carded nine birdies and no bogeys, also finished third on her professional debut in the US Open at Pinehurst last month.

Meadow, who had her best ever round, responded: "It's been a dream start but it's also a dream to play in this environment. US Open and here: the bigger the better! It's more fun. Being out here and playing for a crowd is what I love to do."

Meadow now heads to Final Qualifying at Southport & Ainsdale for the coming week's Ricoh Women's British Open at Royal Birkdale,

Winner Kim said: "It's great to win the tournament, it's my first time playing this championship so I am really honoured to win.

"I feel like I have been hitting the ball really well and putting well so I just had to go out there and enjoy myself.

"I was really comfortable with my game, it's the first time I have trusted my game this much. It was hard not to think about winning on the back nine but I think I did well."

Four birdies on the front nine in a round of 68 saw the 26-year-old South Korean end on a four-round total of 18 under par 270 in bright and breezy conditions.

This was Kim's fifth victory as a professional and her first since the 2010 Lorena Ochoa Invitational. She said that caddie, Gerald Adams, whose nose was broken by a stray golf ball during the Pro-Am on Wednesday, had inspired her to win the event.

"It's amazing that he was caddying for me on Thursday because he got hit by a golf ball on Wednesday and was bleeding everywhere. His attitude towards living and daily life is inspiring to me and many people on the tour," said Kim. Adams recovered from prostate cancer last year.

The World No.24 continued: "I just had a great time. It's great to win the tournament and this is my first time playing the course so I'm really honoured to win the championship. I feel like I've been hitting the ball really well and putting really well so I just had to go out there and enjoy myself."

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