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The only way is up for Meadow after opening 77

By Peter Hutcheon

Stephanie Meadow needs to regroup after a disastrous first round at the Women's British Open if she is to make the half way cut.

The 22-year-old from Jordanstown carded a five over par 77 at Royal Birkdale yesterday, which left her nine shots off the lead held by Japan's Ayako Uehara who is at four under after an opening 68.

It was a bitterly disappointing day for Meadow who had qualified for the second Major of her career in fine style on Monday with a five-under par round to go with the 62 she shot in the final round of the Ladies European Open the previous day for another third-place finish.

She finished with two double-bogeys on the card, including a seven at the par five 15th as she tried to make up ground after she had reached the turn in three over.

Starting in the second group at 6.41 yesterday morning, her day started badly with a dropped shot at the opening hole.

A second shot went at the par four fifth and although she did pick up a birdie to get back to one under on the eighth, she then carded the first of those two double-bogeys at the ninth.

Further bogeys followed at the par four 11th and 12th holes.

She did manage a birdie two at the 14th, but then found more trouble for double-bogey on the next.

There was late consolation when Meadow picked up a shot on the closing par five with a birdie four.

Meadow was not the only one to struggle. New US Open champion Michelle Wie could only open with a three-over par 75 as did fellow American Paul Creamer and former champion Laura Davis.

Meadow opened with a 77 at Buckinghamshire last week, so she knows she can come back from that position.

And whatever happens in the tournament, it has still been a good week for the Ulster woman, who has now signed with agents Blue Giraffe Sports.

They have confirmed that Meadow will play in her third Major next month, the Wegmans LPGA Championship.

Like Meadow, leader Ayako Uehara dropped a shot on her opening hole, but that turned out to be her only reverse of the day as she went on to pick up birdies at the fifth, sixth, eighth, 12th and 18th holes.

She leads by one overnight from American Mo Martin who had five birdies and just two dropped shots in her three-under 69.

Americans Morgan Pressell and Mina Harigae with New Zealand's Sarah Kemp are in joint third, a further shot behind, while England's Holly Clyburn is the top British player in joint sixth with American Stacey Lewis after they both carded one under rounds of 71.

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