Green shoots for Stephanie Meadow after desert win

Green shoots for Stephanie Meadow after desert win
 Stephanie Meadow. Picture 

Stephanie Meadow. Picture 

It's been a difficult few years for Stephanie Meadow but the Jordanstown native had a smile on her face on Wednesday when she won on the Cactus Tour in Arizona — a mini-tour set up to give top amateurs and tour players some competitive play over the winter as they try to make it on the LPGA or Symetra Tour.

"Carried my tour bag for the win today! Just kidding I had an awesome caddy 😍 Nice 66 to win by 4 today. I'm on my way back and I couldn't be more excited 🙌🏻👏🏻👏🏻 thanks to all of my team! #readyformore #hardworkpayingoff#lpga", the 26-year-old tweeted. 

Meadow shot a pair of 71s to lie third with a round to play in the 54-hole event at the Wigwam Resort in Litchfield Park — one of 30 events on the Cactus Tour schedule — then made an eagle, seven birdies and one bogey in a 66 to win by four shots on eight-under par and take home $2,500. Scores

The former Alabama star made just three of 17 cuts before she discovered last September she'd suffered an L5 pars stress fracture.

She returned from her back injury for the LPGA Tour's Q-School in December but missed the cut.

"Well that wasn't exactly what I had in mind for Q school," she tweeted at the time. "But I honestly feel like I'm heading in the right direction and I'm gonna keep smiling!

"It's been a hell of a year but I've battled AND I know I'll be back. Happy to say my back has healed and I'm pain-free again."

Wednesday's win is a huge step in the right direction again, if only for her confidence.

The Cactus Tour offers what it says is a "competitive environment, as well as an affordable one, for women golf professionals to use in developing or re-developing their game in preparation for competing on the Symetra and LPGA tours."

Her next start comes at Desert Canyon Golf Club in Fountain Hills from February 13-14.