Stephanie is Amateur Champ!

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NORTHERN IRELAND’S Stephanie Meadow is the new Ladies’ British Open Amateur champion.

She beat Spain’s Rocio Sanchez Lobato 4 and 3 in the final at Carnoustie on Saturday afternoon with an impressive display of sub-par golf. The 20-year-old from Jordanstown, a student at the University of Alabama and no. 20 in the world amateur rankings, was three up after only six holes against her 19-year-old Spanish opponent, Rocio Sanchez Lobato from Marbella and the University of Georgia, ranked no. 193.

Both players started a shade nervously and took three shots apiece to reach the putting surface at the first hole. But Meadow rammed home her eight-foot putt to win the hole with a par four. She doubled her lead with another par at the second and after a half in birdies at the third, Meadow went three up with a birdie three at the fourth.

The Spanish girl got on the scoreboard at the fifth, winning that hole to cut her deficit to two. Meadow was bunkered off the tee at the fifth, but the confident Meadow, with her dad Robert as her caddie, was not to be denied. She won both the sixth and seventh with par figures to be four up on the eighth tee.

Lobato was almost out of bounds off the tee at the sixth and completely mishit her third. Lobato was not ready to throw in the towel, however. She hit back with a birdie two at the short eighth to be three down. The ninth was halved in pars, leaving Meadow in the strong position of three up at the turn. After a half at the 10th, Meadow went four up with her third birdie of the round at the 11th. Again her Spanish opponent countered with a winning birdie at the 12th, to pull Stephanie back again to a three-hole lead.

Meadow birdied the short 13th, almost holing her eight-iron tee shot, to be four up with five to play. In a quality finish to an absorbing final, the 14th was halved in birdie fours and then the 15th in par, leaving Meadow, the winner by 4 and 3. The victory earns Stephanie a place in the field for this week’s US Women’s Open and the Ricoh Women’s British Open at Hoylake in September.

Carnoustie’s Ailsa Summers went out at the qualifying stage after carding rounds of 82 and 84 to finish 22 over par, but her Carnoustie Ladies’ clubmate, Jessica Meek, who only got into the tournament as a reserve and after a 10 over par 82 on the first day, shot a great 71 on day two to get in to the matchplay stages.

There she lost 5 and 4 to Rotherham’s Olivia Winning. Elie and Earlsferry Ladies’ Sally Watson, who won the qualifying stages went out in round two, being beaten by Canada’s Augusta James as did the only other Scot, Alyson Mckechin who lost to Laure Castelain of France.