Jordanstown's Stephanie Meadow wins World Invitational at Galgorm Castle
Nine years of the NI Open, nine long years without a home win. Year one of the ISPS Handa World Invitational Men/Women and Jordanstown born Stephanie Meadow gets the job done – simple really.
In front of friends and family, the 27-year-old rose to the challenge, holding off a final day charge from Solheim Cup bound Charley Hull to claim her second win as a professional.
“It's unbelievable. I'm so excited and honoured. I want to thank ISPS Handa and Modest! Golf for giving me the opportunity to come home to compete and win at home. It is very very special,” said Stephanie, a winner of the 2018 IOA Championship on the Symetra Tour.
Meadow started the day with a four-shot lead but quickly found herself involved in a match-play contest with playing partner Hull and had to show some real grit and determination to come through in the end.
A double-bogey at the par-five ninth could have derailed her challenge but she hit back immediately with birdies at 10 and 11.
“I missed it a little right but I got a pretty bad bounce off the tree and into some nasty stuff. I had to take a drop but I still didn't have a shot to the green,” said Stephanie of the ninth.
“I have hit worse shots this week that ended up ok but that's just golf.
“I told myself that and was able to birdie 10 and get back rolling at it. That was really key to be able to not freak out or panic.”
Hull, highlighting her pedigree, kept in touch and had an eagle chance on the last to possibly force a play-off but saw her putt slide by the hole.
Stephanie added; “I was watching a few of the leaderboards out there and I knew that a couple of the other girls were close but not close enough.
“When she [Hull] hit that three-wood to six feet on 18, it was an unreal shot. I managed to hit a nice one in there as well. She didn't make the putt but she definitely gave me a run for my money.
“This win will give me a lot of confidence. Hopefully, I can take this win and use it as momentum. I played against Charley Hull and she is one of the best players in the world. If I can do it against her I can do it out there as well.”
The men's event was won by England's Jack Senior who beat another Englishman Matthew Baldwin on the second extra hole after the pair of them ended the tournament on 11 under par.
The leading home player was Cormac Sharvin who couldn't hide his disappointment after finishing tied for 21st.
“I've missed a few cuts but for the four rounds I played, that's my worst result,” said the Ardglass man.
“I can't really expect to compete with the way I played. I haven't even felt like I had anything close to it this week but I've still finished around 20th, which isn't a bad thing I guess.
“I fancied my chances around this place this week and I just didn't really have my A game, or my B game or my C game!
"I had to really dig in because I could have very easily missed the cut this week, or missed the cut yesterday. But I just tried to get gritty and I think a week like this will stand me in good stead for other weeks where I get myself into contention.”