Northern Ireland’s Stephanie Meadow will be bidding to extend her fast start to life in the professional ranks when she tees up in the Ricoh Women’s British Open Final Qualifying at Southport & Ainsdale on Monday July 7.
The 22 year-old from Royal Portrush finished third on her professional debut at last month’s US Women’s Open at Pinehurst No. 2 and now she turns her attention to trying to qualify for the Ricoh Women’s British Open which begins at Royal Birkdale on Thursday July 10.
Meadow is joined in the Southport & Ainsdale field by veteran Swede, Sophie Gustafson, who won the Championship at Royal Birkdale back in 2000 and who has finished runner-up on three other occasions between 1998 and 2006.
There are around 14 places up for grabs at Southport & Ainsdale and another favourite to progress is 2000 and 2002 Ladies British Amateur champion, Rebecca Hudson, who travels to the north west fresh from a third place finish behind Florentyna Parker and Holly Clyburn at the recent Italian Ladies Championship at Perugia.
World No. 5, Su-Hyun Oh from Australia, and English world No. 20, Annabel Dimmock, are two of the amateurs exempt into Final Qualifying and earlier this week they were joined by eight other amateurs who made it through Pre-Qualifying over the Blue course at The Berkshire.
The Pre-Qualifying event was won by Welsh former Solheim Cup player, Becky Brewerton, who carded a four under par 66 to finish one shot ahead of compatriot Amy Boulden, South Africa’s Nicole Garcia, Italy’s Sophie Sandolo, America’s Kim Welch and leading amateur, Essex county player Dulcie Sverdloff.
Two other amateurs, Hally Leadbetter, daughter of famous golf coach David, and reigning Irish Women’s Open Amateur Stroke Play champion, Lucy Goddard, shared seventh place with Scotland’s Laura Murray and Veronika Falathova while Israeli, Laetitia Beck, the leading qualifier at last week’s Ladies British Open Amateur Championship, and English amateur, Bethany Garton, qualified in the group on one under par 71 alongside Caroline Martens, Karen Davies, Sarah Attwood, Henrietta Zuel and Lucy Williams.
The last of the qualifiers were Jane Turner, Hermione Fitzgerald, Smriti Mehra, Virginia Espejo-Saavedra and amateur trio Emma Goddard, Sarah-Jane Boyd and Sophie Madden who made it through on level par 70.
Non-qualifiers included England’s Mel Reid and Scotland’s Carly Booth, both of whom missed out by a single shot on one over par 71. (Full results can be found at www.ricohwomensbritishopen.com)
This year’s Championship marks the sixth time that Royal Birkdale has hosted the Ricoh Women’s British Open. Marta Figueras-Dotti claimed the coveted title the first time the Championship was staged there in 1982. Dame Laura Davies was the champion at Royal Birkdale in 1986 and she was followed into the club’s winners’ circle by Gustafson (2000), Korea’s Jeong Jang (2005) and Yani Tseng (2010).