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26th Jun 2023

Stephanie Meadow backs Leona Maguire to bounce back after PGA Championship disappointment

Patrick McCarry

Stephanie Meadow

Well said by the Antrim native.

In the end, the fourth round charge at the PGA Championship came from Stephanie Meadow and not Leona Maguire. Ultimately, though, it was not to be for the Team Ireland Olympians on a tense day at Baltusrol.

Maguire started off the final day one shot clear and well set for a tilt at her first ever major title. She had won her second LPGA title, last weekend, at the Meijer Classic, was up to 12th in the world rankings and headed into Sunday on the back of eight straight rounds – across three tournaments – in the 60s.

The Cavan native struggled throughout, however, and her putter ran cold. She ended up carding a +3 round of 74 and finished four shots back of eventual winner, 20-year-old Ruoning Yin from China.

It was Meadow that ended up having the best chance of claiming a first women’s major for the island of Ireland. When she birdied the 17th then striped a great drive off the 18th tee, she was one shot off the lead.

Yin, though, poured in a birdie putt on the 18th green to set the clubhouse lead marker at -8. It meant Meadow would need an eagle on that par-five hole to force a playoff. She ended up making a poor connection and double-skimming her fairway wood off the water before, miraculously, it found dry water and she later thanked ‘the golfing gods’ for the piece of fortune.

She ended up parring that hole to finish in a tie for third, securing a cheque for $473,000.

Stephanie Meadow

Stephanie Meadow on Leona Maguire

Having shot rounds of 69, 68 and 69, Leona Maguire ended up carding four bogeys and a solitary birdie for a final round of 74 that was the worst finish of all but one of the top 30 players in the field.

Meadow was in Maguire’s playing group and was asked if she was shocked by the Cavan native’s final day performance. “Yeah, it’s golf,” she commented.

“Pressure was on, obviously. It’s hard. Golf is golf. She’s had an incredible two weeks. She won last week, and this is her first round in probably eight days, probably more than that, where she hasn’t quite put it together. Honestly, it wasn’t that far off. She still hit a lot of great shots, she just missed some shots and three-putted a few times.

“I know her; she’ll be right back to it. I wouldn’t be surprised if she does great at the U.S. Open, as well.”

Up next on the LPGA schedule is another major, as the players head to Pebble Beach from the Women’s US Open, which starts on Thursday, July 6.

Having tied her best ever major finish, Meadow will also be hoping to kick on, in California. “To get that [high majors finish] again, it’s been a long journey and a lot of ups and downs personally and professionally. Yeah, I’m proud of myself. It’s been a great week.”

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