In 18 months she could be chasing Olympic gold under Paul McGinley in Rio de Janeiro but right now Stephanie Meadow is battling for cash and tour status after a sensational second round 68 helped her survive the cut in the ANA Inspiration in California. She's also playing "for Dad."
As South Korea's Sie Young Kim shot 65 to lead by two shot from Morgan Pressel on seven under par, Jordanstown native Meadow kept a bogey off her card in the first LPGA Major of the season to make the weekend with ease.
At level par, she's tied for 30th place with the likes of Suzann Pettersen and world No 1 Lydia Ko, whose run of 29 successive sub par rounds on the LPGA Tour came to an end with a 73.
But what makes Meadow's feat all the more laudable is the fact that she is teeing it up for the first time this year having opted to remain at home to help take care of her father Robert, who has been battling Stage IV pancreatic cancer.
According to Beth Ann Nichols for Golfweek:
The night before the LPGA rookie was set to leave for Ocala, Fla., to try and Monday qualify for the LPGA’s season-opening event, the doctor called to deliver the news that Robert had cancer.
He’d gone in for a yearly checkup with some mild stomach pain, only to find out days later that he had Stage IV pancreatic cancer.
“I just don’t know how to describe what it felt like when you got that sort of news,” said Louise, his loving wife of 32 years.
For five weeks Stephanie didn’t touch a club, something she never before thought possible.
“I just stopped thinking about golf,” she said.
She’d run to the store for her mother, pick up prescriptions and help the nurses. She’s been amazed by the string of Hospice workers who have come through their home – everyone from a priest to a social worker to a psychologist.
While Meadow battled on, Galway-born Alison Walshe followed her opening 68 with a 79 to miss the cut by one. A triple bogey six at the fifth, her 14th did the damage and while she birdied the next, she couldn't birdie either of her last two.
Still, her performance on the LPGA Tour, where she has slowly established a foothold, has caught the attention of Ireland's Olympic's captain McGinley, who mentioned her on Golf Channel after her first round 69
“One of the things I’ve got going forward is that I’m going to captain the Irish teams, men’s and ladies, in the Olympics next year,” said McGinley, the winning Ryder Cup captain last year. “I believe Alison is from a little Irish village called Boston, and she’s got Irish heritage.
“She may consider representing Ireland next year, who knows?”
Walshe, is ranked No. 142 in the world after finishing 85th on the 2014 LPGA money list, played for the U.S. team in the 2008 Curtis Cup matches at St. Andrews but it believed to be interested in representing Ireland in Rio.
She is ranked No. 142 in the world after finishing 85th on the 2014 LPGA money list.