Fresh from her sensational professional debut at the US Women’s Open a fortnight ago, where she finished third only three strokes behind the winner Michelle Wie, Stephanie Meadow has received an invitation to compete in the ISPS HANDA Ladies European Masters at Buckinghamshire Golf Club this week. The LET caught up with her ahead of her second start as a pro.
Coming off a sensational pro debut, how are you feeling?
Just to be a pro is really exciting but I take a lot of confidence from the US Open. It’s one thing when you have a good week but you have to ground yourself again and remember to do your drills and all the stuff that makes you good. You’ve got to think about the new tournament and forget about last week.
How does this course compare to Pinehurst?
The greens are a lot easier. It’s a birdie course whereas Pinehurst was more pars so I’m just getting back to attacking the pins again and getting used to the yardages. It’s a little colder over here so the ball goes a little shorter. Other than that, it’s just quite an American style golf course so it’s pretty easy to adjust.
What were the highlights of your amateur career?
Probably the Curtis Cup in 2012. I sank the winning putt, well I got the point to win the overall thing so that was pretty special to have my teammates there and share that with them was cool. I won the British Am so that was a big thing and the NCAAs with the University of Alabama. Those were the three big things.
What was your handicap when you turned pro?
How much do you go back and where do you call home?
It’s kind of weird because we don’t have a house in Ireland anymore because they sold it. We still have a lot of family in Northern Ireland and close family friends. We go back once a summer and I would normally stay there for three months for the whole summer but I mean, Northern Ireland is definitely still home and I don’t think I’ll ever be American.
You are playing with Charley Hull and Minjee Lee. Do you know them?
I know Charley as I played with her in the Curtis Cup in 2012 but I haven’t seen her in a while. I haven’t seen her this week yet. And Minjee Lee I’ve played with a few times and she’s a good player so I think it’s fun that they can put a good pairing out like that and hopefully we can put on a good show.
I’m just waiting to hear from other tournament sponsors to see if I can get an exemption. I just have to wait and see, that’s up in the air. Hopefully I can get a few and see what I can do.
Will you qualify for the LPGA after the US Open?
No, you have to be in the top 40 on the money list at the end of the year. Right now I’m 28th but if I don’t play in many more I will probably drop. I probably have to earn a little bit more.
Do you know Rory McIlroy?
I played a good bit of junior golf with him. I hadn’t seen him for about four years until I went to the Open on Sunday and watched him play. I hadn’t seen him for four years but I didn’t get to spend much time with him because he was flying back to Ireland but he’s a good guy.
Will you be representing GB or Ireland at the Olympics?
I don’t know yet. Everybody’s asking me and when I get a moment to think about it I will but right now it’s a difficult thing.
You come from Royal Portrush. The Open is going there.
That’s massive. I know how much it means to them and it’s going to be a really good tournament. I know a lot of people are saying, will they be able to deal with all the people. They had the Irish Open there two years ago and proved everyone wrong so it should be good and I’m excited.
Do you have any expectations this week?
I’m just going to stick to see how I can do. That’s what I did last week. Obviously my game’s good so I have to see where that leaves me in the end.