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Ladies British Amateur: Hedberg falls to Meadow

PORTRUSH, COUNTY ANTRIM, Ireland (June 9, 2011) -- Royal Portrush member Stephanie Meadow toppled the No 1 seed, Spanish champion Camilla Hedberg at the 19th, defending champion Kelly Tidy (Royal Birkdale) beat the World No 1 female amateur, 14-year-old Lydia Ko from New Zealand, and 16-year-old Lauren Taylor (Woburn) knocked out the World No 2, Cecilia Cho, also from New Zealand..And the talented Maguire twins, Leona and Lisa, both lost in first round of the match-play.

These were the headline-hitting results from the round of the last 32 in the British women’s open amateur championship over Stephanie’s home links on the Northern Ireland coastline.

Can 19-year-old Stephanie, who won three times on the US women’s college golf circuit as a first-year student at the University of Alabama, follow in the long-ago footsteps of Rhona Adair, who was a Royal Portrush member at the beginning of the 20th century and appeared in three “British” finals.

Rhona won the title in 1903 when the championship was played at Portrush which didn’t have the “Royal” prefix then.

Stephanie admitted she was lucky to survive her first-round morning match against Laure Castelain from France.

“I didn’t play in that one … bogeyed four holes in a row at one stage and was two down with six or seven holes to play,” said Jordanstown-born Stephanie who has lived in America for the past few years in what has been a very successful move to enhance her rate of progress towards the top in golf.

“But fortunately I was able to get back on level terms and then win on the 18th green.”

Having got that out of her system, Stephanie played to her full potential against Camilla Hedberg in what was a quality match in which the better-ball would have been eight or nine under par.

“It certainly was a high-quality game. I had five birdies and one bogey, and Camilla had an eagle and four birdies, so it was some match. It was just the kind of match I was needing to get me back in the groove,” said Stephanie.

Meadow started like a train winning the second, third and fourth holes with a birdie-birdie-par run.Hedberg was not shaken, only stirred into a purple patch of her own. The Spanish girl with the Swedish father birdied the seventh, won the eighth wit a par and trumped Meadow’s birdie with an eagle 3 at the ninth to be all square at the turn.

Things looked bad for Stephanie – although she said she never let her head go down – when Hedberg birdied the short 11th from 15ft and the 12th with a birdie putt to go two up.

Meadow won back the 13th where Hedberg had one of her few bogeys after driving into the rough.

Both girls holed good birdie putts to halve the short 14th in 2, Hedberg following Meadows’ 30-footer by holing hers from 20ft.

One down with three to play, Stephanie won the 16th with a par to square the game and then missed a possible chance to finish the match on the long 18th but took tree putts from a good 50 yards after hitting her second barely on the very long green at the home hole. That allowed Hedberg, who had been bunkered off the tee, to escape with a half in par 5s.

But Meadow fittingly won a match that would have been a worthy final wit a birdie at the 19th, holing from 20ft.

Stephanie, who is No 15 in the World Rankings, will now play No 17, the in-form South African Kim Williams who is over in Britain for next week’s Astor Trophy team match-play tournament in Lancashire. Williams had to play only 28 holes to get past her first and second-round ties.

Amy Boulden from Wales had a very good win by 4 and 3 over Minjee Lee, the 15-year-old Australian girl who led the first qualifying round on Tuesday with a six-under-par 68 and dismissed Scottish champion and Vagliano Trophy selection Louise Kenney by 4 and 2 in the morning round.

Amy now plays Kyle Roig from Puerto Rico for a place in the quarter-finals.

Astor Trophy and Vagliano Trophy selection Pamela Pretswell (Bothwell Castle) beat No 3 seed Nathalie Mansson by 2 and 1 in the morning but lost by 3 and 1 to Marta Silva, the talented Spanish girl who is ranked No 11 in the world after a very good season on the US college circuit.

Marta now plays Charlotte Wild (Mere) who beat Deirdre Smith (Co Louth) by 4 and 3 after firing five birdies at the Irish player over the first nine holes, at the end of which she was three up. Deirdre, who had beaten Lisa Maguire by one hole in the morning.

Smith seemed to have turned the tide when she won back the 10th and 11th but Charlotte surged clear again by winning the 12th, 13th and 14th.

Sixteen-year-old Lauren Taylor from the Woburn club had the greatest day of her golfing life. First she beat the Irish champion and Curtis Cup player Danielle McVeigh (Royal Co Down) by 2 and 1 – and then she claimed the notable scalp of world No 2 Cecilia Cho, a 16-year-old from New Zealand who was the No 1 until being overtaken by Lydia Ko.

“I was so nervous over the last four holes,” admitted Lauren who had birdied the seventh, eighth and ninth to turn a one-hole deficit into a two-hole lead.

“I went three up when Cecilia three-putted the 12th and then just hung on for nerve-racking halves at the next four holes to finish the match. I played really well all day but I can hardly believe that I have beaten the World No 2.”

Teenager Taylor now plays experienced German international, Thea Hoffmeister.

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