Stephanie Meadow took a giant step towards getting into the battle for an LPGA Tour card when she posted a gutsy second round 70 in the Final Stage of the LPGA Qualifying Tournament at Daytona Beach in Florida.
The Jordanstown talent was languishing 119th in the 157-strong field after an opening, three over 75 on the Hills Cours at LPGA International.
With just 20 cards on offer after five rounds and with only the top 70 and ties qualifying for the fifth day after 72 holes, the former University of Alabama star needed a low round to take some pressure off her shoulders.
And she got it too with what was only her third sub-par round from her last 23 following the tragic passing of her father Robert from cancer in May.
Starting on the 10th tee at the Jones Course, Meadow birdied the 13th and 14th, bogeyed the 15th but birdied the par-five 18th to get back to one over for the tournament.
She then dropped another shot on the par-three third but finished in style with a birdie four at the ninth for her 70.
She’s now tied for 58th on one over, just inside the top 70 who will make the cut after four rounds.
The top 20 finishers (no ties) following Sunday's fifth and final round will earn category 12 membership while players who finish 21 through 45 plus ties will earn membership through category 17.
In layman’s terms, the top 20 finishers will have “full” LPGA membership while those that finish 21-45 will have “conditional” status.
China’s Simin Feng and Korea’s Julie Yang, who like Meadown missed out in a playoff for a full card last year, share the lead on 9-under par, 135.
Feng carded a three-under 69 on the Hills Course while Yang posted a two-under 70 on the Jones Course.
“It’s a marathon, not a sprint but I’m happy with how I’ve played so far,” said Yang, who finished T21 last year. “My only bogey of the day came on the last hole so it was a good day.”
She added: “I have the experience from last year and I know what to expect. Last year was a tough year with conditional status and I feel like my game is ready to go back to the LPGA.”
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