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With this swing, I thee wed: Stephanie Meadow missing competitive golf... but she's happy to be otherwise engaged


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Stephanie Meadow

Stephanie Meadow

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Pictured: Niall Horan, Stephanie Meadow and Jack Senior.

Pictured: Niall Horan, Stephanie Meadow and Jack Senior.

Philip Magowan

Stephanie Meadow and partner Kyle

Stephanie Meadow and partner Kyle

Stephanie Meadow

What do two golfers do when they know they want to be together FORE ever? Putt a ring on it of course!

Northern Ireland golf-pro Stephanie Meadow thought she was just on an average walk in the woods when her partner of two-and-a-half years, golfer Kyle Kallan, gave her the surprise of her life.

"We were on a hike with our dog, and about a quarter of the way up a mountain when all of a sudden he got down on one knee," says Stephanie, beaming. "I started bawling immediately! I was very shocked but very, very happy."

It's a much-needed magical moment for the LPGA Pro who has been missing the fairways with the competitive golf circuit obliterated by Covid-19.

"We haven't had an event since February," reveals Stephanie (28). "It's been pretty rough. My sponsors, Investec and ATA, have continued to support me which is amazing and the hope is that we could be back playing - although maybe without fans - by mid-June. But everything is changing day by day so all we can do is keep our fingers crossed."

She laughs: "My ring might be the only silverware I get to carry this year! But I'm thrilled with it. He did a great job, it's beautiful and more than I could ever have imagined."

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Stephanie Meadow and partner Kyle

Stephanie Meadow and partner Kyle

Stephanie Meadow and partner Kyle

She adds: "It's such a tricky thing. Personally it's been a great week for me, but professionally it's different. I feel like all we can do is stay at home, keep social distancing and hopefully we can all get through this. I don't think I ever thought I'd be living through a pandemic, never mind getting engaged during one."

Originally from Jordanstown, Co Antrim, the golf star, who represented Ireland in the 2016 Rio Olympics, now lives outside Phoenix, Arizona. Her mum lives nearby.

"It's great that, with social distancing, I could see mum and the same with Kyle's parents," says Stephanie. "Everyone else we had to call. But I know it brought a smile to so many people's faces, perhaps more than it would have done otherwise because people have been struggling and it meant a lot to us to be able to bring a little bit of happiness into the world."

Sadly one person Stephanie would have loved to have shared her big news with, her beloved dad Robert, passed away from pancreatic cancer in 2015.

"Kyle never got the chance to meet my dad and I know he would have loved him," she says. "It's sad, and it's not the first time I've thought about it because it's something you dream about, walking down the aisle with your dad. But I'm more happy than sad because I think my dad would be so happy for me and I think he was looking down on us. I just try and think about those things as opposed to the sad things because I know he would want to be here if he could."

The couple met through mutual friends at a dinner at Green Bay in 2017. With so many things up in the air right now they're not sure which side of the Atlantic the wedding will be on when it happens.

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Pictured: Niall Horan, Stephanie Meadow and Jack Senior.

Pictured: Niall Horan, Stephanie Meadow and Jack Senior.

Philip Magowan

Pictured: Niall Horan, Stephanie Meadow and Jack Senior.

"We're just waiting until Covid-19 is over, then we can get planning," reveals Stephanie. She laughs: "I have watched Say Yes To The Dress and I think dress shopping is probably going to be a long process for me - I'm pretty picky! But it's nice just having the time to enjoy being engaged and not worrying about the checklist. One thing's for certain though, I'm sure we'll have a big party when life gets back to normal."

"One of the benefits of this intense environment we find ourselves in is that is more couples may find themselves wanting to make the ultimate gesture of love and commitment by deciding to tie the knot," says love coach Dr Ellen Anne Schlutz. "It's given us time to pause and reflect and the opportunity to distinguish 'a keeper'. It also gives us a sense of control and empowerment in an uncertain time. It says there is a future that's bright and beautiful and we're in it together. And there's something to look forward to when this is all over."

Belfast Telegraph