Meadow hangs tough in the desert
 Stephanie Meadow

Stephanie Meadow

Rory McIlroy winning the Masters would trump it but even if she has a poor final round, Stephanie Meadow's performance in the first LPGA major of the season is extraordinary.

With all due to respect to McIlroy, making the cut and then contending for a Top 10 finish in the ANA Inspiration after more than three months away from the game is special. It certainly ranks alongside Pádraig Harrington's drought-ending victory in the Honda Classic.

Meadow did't sulk when one of her opponents chipped in on the seventh hole of a multi-player playoff to clinch the final LPGA Tour card at last year's Q-School. She simply went back to practicing.

Suddenly, early in the new year, her family's world was turned upside down when her father, Robert, went for his yearly check up and was diagnosed with Stage IV pancreatic cancer.

As Golfweek's Beth Ann Nichols reported this week... "for five weeks Stephanie didn’t touch a club, something she never before thought possible. 'I just stopped thinking about golf,' she said."

After a first round 76, a second round 68 delighted Meadow and she backed it up by firing three birdies and just one bogey in a two under 70 on Saturday to move up 11 places to tied 19th with a round to go

At two under par, she's eight shots off the lead and in position to challenge for a Top 10 finish that woudl get her another start. Who knows, as she began the week by saying she was going to play "for Dad" something even more special might be on the cards.

Cutest good luck message I have ever received. #proudmomma #mademyday

A photo posted by Stephanie Meadow (@stephmeadow20) on

South Korea's Sei Young Kim, the overnight leader, shot a three under 69 to extend her lead to three shots over Stacy Lewis on 10 under par.