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Stephanie Meadow regains card after injury woe to land top award


True grit: Stephanie Meadow's character has shone through
True grit: Stephanie Meadow's character has shone through

By Paul Kelly

Stephanie Meadow's impressive display of guts and determination in returning from serious injury to regain her full LPGA Tour card for 2019 has earned her the Professional Player of the Year Award for 2018 from the Irish Golf Writers' Association, sponsored by Allianz.

The Jordanstown-born Meadow, now resident in the United States, is the first woman to win the award since its inception in 1976. The 26-year-old suffered a stress fracture (L5) in her spine during the 2017 season but was unable to avail of a medical exemption on the LPGA Tour.

She underwent surgery and endured over four months of rehabilitation to resurface with renewed conviction in 2018.

Playing on the Symetra Tour, Stephanie produced an exceptionally consistent run of results.

She won the IOA Championship, had nine top-10s during the year and earned her full LPGA Tour card by finishing sixth on the order of merit.

"I am so honoured and so humbled to have won the Professional Golfer of the Year.

"I was knocked on my face a little bit last year and to come out and have such a great season and to top it off by being recognised as the Professional Golfer of the Year is truly remarkable," said Stephanie, who is currently planning her schedule for 2019.

Robin Dawson, 23, received the Men's Amateur Player of the Year award while Sara Byrne, 17, won Ladies Amateur Player of the Year award.

The Distinguished Services to Golf award was presented to Miriam Hand, who is the driving force behind the "Play in Pink" charitable initiative which raised in excess of €160,000 across Ireland in 2018.

Irish golfing great Eamonn Darcy was also honoured on the night for his contribution to the game.

Meanwhile, David Lipsky fired a 66 to take a one-shot lead on day two of the Alfred Dunhill Championship.

The American registered four birdies and an eagle to get to eight under but Scott Jamieson and Marc Warren were just a shot back, with David Drysdale and Doug McGuigan then at six under.

Starting on the 10th, Lipsky made a birdie on the 11th and an eagle on the 13th before adding further gains on the 16th, second and third.

"I played really well," he commented.

"I actually didn't hit it that great today but my putting and chipping was amazing.

"I got the job done and tied it up and I'm looking forward to the weekend."

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