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Stephanie Meadow's monster putt earns big win to boost LPGA Tour hopes


By Paul Kelly

Jordanstown woman Stephanie Meadow was crowned the 2018 IOA Championship presented by Morongo Casino Resort & Spa winner on Sunday, coming through in a play-off against Carleigh Silvers (USA).

The 26-year-old started the day seven shots behind leader Jenny Haglund (Karlstad, Sweden) in a tie for fifth but a two-under-par final round of 70 was enough to earn Meadow a place in the play-off.

"I thought if I was going to be in a play-off, I probably would have had to shoot seven under. It happens, people have tough days on the last day and if you just stay steady, you never know what can happen," said the Ulster woman, who has fought back to full fitness following back problems in 2017.

On the first sudden-death play-off hole, Meadow drained a 40ft putt to put the pressure squarely on Silvers, which proved to be the deciding factor in the end.

"To make it, and it was dead centre, was pretty awesome," added Meadow.

"Honestly, I hadn't made anything all week so for those two putts - No. 18 in regulation and then the play-off hole - to go in, was pretty special. I guess I was saving them up."

Meadow is aiming for a top-10 finish on the Symetra Tour this season, which would get her back on the LPGA circuit in 2019.

As a result of her monster birdie putt on Sunday, she earned $15,000 and moved up to second place in the money list with $19,587 after the first two events, just $510 behind Race for the Card leader Lauren Kim of the USA.

In amateur golf, the Ulster Girls' Open Championship at Lough Erne GC was won by Spain's Nicole Joyce-Moreno, who beat Kate Lanigan (Hermitage) in the final by one hole.

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