IT has been a summer that Stephanie Meadow will never forget. First, she holed the winning putt in the Curtis Cup as Great Britain & Ireland beat a fancied American side at Nairn. Then she won the British Amateur. We caught up with the American-based star to reflect on her amazing year.
You qualified for the Women’s British Open but turned down the invite. Why was that?
I am currently studying at the University of Alabama and school is very important to me. The Women’s British Open fell right before the World Amateur and, if I were to play in both, I would be away from classes for around three weeks. I was committed to the World Amateur for a long time and a lot of my schedule has been based around peaking for the world events.
This may also be my last opportunity to play in that as it is only played every two years. It was a very difficult decision for me to make and the timing of both tournaments is really unfortunate. I also played in the British Open last year so I am blessed to have already experienced the joys of it.
How did you end up living in the States?
When I was 15 my parents and I had the opportunity to move to Hilton Head Island so I could attend the International Junior Golf Academy. We made the move simply because we thought that was the best chance to be the best golfer I could be. It was a big move but it was definitely worth it. I spent my high school years in Hilton Head Island and once I graduated I moved to attend the University of Alabama. I had the opportunity to choose between many universities and Alabama was the perfect fit. The coach, Mic Potter, is not only the collegiate team coach but now my personal coach as well. He has helped me immensely. I am currently in my third of four years in my accounting degree.
As well as Darren Clarke and Graeme McDowell’s feats, fellow Royal Portrush member Alan Dunbar won the men’s Amateur. Why does Portrush create so many top players?
I get asked this question a lot now and to be completely honest I have absolutely no idea. It must be something in the water. But I am convinced that the successes of Darren have inspired the rest of us to achieve what we have. It is like a chain reaction.
What do you love about the course?
Royal Portrush is literally the most beautiful place on earth. The golf course is great but hard! The views are breathtaking. Every time I play there mother nature shows a different side of herself. I am still learning all the subtle beauties of it.
Has it all sunk in, to win the British Amateur after holing the winning putt in the Curtis Cup?
I think it has now but it definitely took a while. It was fun to see all my hard work pay off. I believed in myself and in my team and I always knew that if we all did our bit we would come out on top.
What was your US Open experience like?
It was spectacular, the whole set-up was a learning experience. I was able to see what I hope my future will be like. The facilities were tremendous and I learned a lot about what I need to improve on to become the best. The set up was extremely hard; the rough was thick and long. The greens were fast and the course played long!
Will you turn pro soon?
I plan to do that after I finish my education. I am very committed to my degree. I really value education.
Who are your golfing heroes?
Annika, for her dedication and determination. Not only is she a great golfer but she has given back to the game in so many different ways. I hope to do that in my future.