Jordanstown's Stephanie Meadow found her putting touch to fire a sensational six under par 66 and surge into contention to win her card on the second day of the LPGA Qualifying Tournament at LPGA International in Florida.
The 22-year old, an impressive third on her professional debut in the US Women's Open at Pinehurst in June, leapt from 46th after her first round 72 into a tie for sixth with three rounds remaining. Scoring
“To shoot 66 on any course at any time is great,” Meadow said. “To do it this week is obviously big but there’s a long way to go.”
Meadow, who competed in five LPGA events in 2014, had seven birdies against a lone bogey in her 66 on the Hills Course at the Daytona Beach track, which played 1.54 strokes tougher than the Jones Course on Thursday.
“Honestly, my ball striking was a little bit better today but really I just made some putts,” Meadow admitted. “I’ve had some good history on this course. I played in a tournament here and won my freshman year so I really like this course and feel like it’s good for my game. I’m accurate and that’s what you need out here.”
As for her meteoric start to her pro career and the pressure of playing for her card, she said: "Mentally I feel really strong, It's been a turmoil since I turned pro and I feel really calm and confident right now. I am trying really hard not to think about my card. I talk to Pia (Nilsson) and Lynn (Marriott) my sports psychologists and they say, 'This week is all about you and seeing where your game is.'
"At the end of the day, if I do everything I can do and I make it, I make it. If I don't, I don't. There is no point in worrying about anything else. You can tell there are girls with some nerves and anxious energy out there. So you have to be careful and it's important to get away from the course. And my puppy is here so I get to go home every night and that keeps me chilled and relaxed."
Meadow is not lacking in motivation and revealed that she's been inundated by messages of goodwill.
“You have no idea how many tweets I’ve gotten in the last few days from people at home watching,” Meadow told the LPGA Tour. “It means a lot that they’re watching. To have them behind me I’m very lucky.”
Meadow is six under par, three shots behind Korea's Ju Young Park and American Casey Grice who lead on nine-under par 135.
All 154 players have now played a round at the Hills and Jones Courses at LPGA International and will will again flip between Jones and Hills over the next two days prior to a 72-hole cut.
The top-70 and ties will make Sunday’s final round at the Hills Course with the top-20 earning LPGA membership through category 12.
Those who finish 21 through 45 with earn membership through category 17. In laymen’s terms, players who finish in the top 20 will have “full-time” status on the LPGA Tour while players that finish 21 through 45 will have “conditional” status.
Meadow wasn't the only European to play well on day two.
Solheim Cup star Charley Hull bounced back from an opening round 75 with a 69 on the Jones Course to find herself in a tie for 39th at level par for the tournament.
“I hit it well,” Hull said of her play on Thursday. “I holed a few putts just not as many as I’d like to. I’m happy with how I’m hitting it.”
Hull enters the event coming off an impressive season in which she played in nine LPGA Tour events and earned over $210,000.
“I’ve had a great season so far,” Hull said. “I played well in the Majors that I played in and had some great finishes on the LPGA Tour. If I don’t get my card I’m not going to be overly disappointed because I think I’ll be able to play in the Majors next year thanks to my ranking on the LET.”
While Hull has achieved a great deal of success since turning professional in 2013 she has yet to find the magic at Qualifying Schools, having missed her only other attempt, at Ladies European Tour Q-School in 2012.
“I hate Q-School,” Hull said with a grin. “I never made it through Q-School on the Ladies European Tour. I just came in second five times in a row in my first five tournaments. I felt like Q-School is a completely different week. It’s just one week of the year. You can have a good week or you can have a bad week and it’s just one of them things.”