Meadow secures first Symetra Tour victory in playoff
BEAUMONT, Calif. — There was just as much drama on the back nine of Morongo Golf Club at Tukwet Canyon today as there was at the Masters, and when the dust settled Stephanie Meadow (Jordanstown, Northern Ireland) was crowned the 2018 IOA Championship presented by Morongo Casino Resort & Spa winner.
The path to victory wasn’t simple, however. After 54 holes, both Meadow and Carleigh Silvers (Martinsville, Indiana) were tied for the lead at 4-under par overall.
“I would’ve pretty much doubted it,” said Meadow, regarding how everything played out. “I thought if I was going to be in a playoff, I probably would have had to shoot 7-under to catch her. It happens, people have tough days on the last day and if you just stay steady, you never know what can happen.”
On the first sudden-death playoff hole (No. 18), Meadow drained a 40-foot putt to put the pressure squarely on Silvers, which proved to be the deciding factor.
“To make it, and it was dead center, was pretty awesome,” Meadow said with a big smile on her face. “Honestly, I hadn’t made anything all week so for those two putts—No. 18 in regulation and then the playoff hole—to go in, was pretty special. I guess I was saving them up.”
Entering the final round, Meadow sat tied for fifth at 2-under par. She was seven shots back of 36-hole leader Jenny Haglund (Karlstad, Sweden), who limped to an 8-over par (80) finish, ending tied for seventh at 1-under.
Meadow erased an early double bogey on No. 6 with two birdies to shoot even par going out. Then the back nine started tough with a bogey on No. 10, but she remained calm and found her way to birdies on Nos. 13, 16 and 18.
Two groups behind Meadow was Silvers who, for a brief moment this afternoon, took the outright lead at 4-under par thanks to a birdie on No. 16. From there, the two went back and forth. Meadow then tied Silvers at 4-under with her birdie on No. 18, just before Silvers snagged a one-stroke advantage back with a birdie on No. 17. However, her bogey on the final hole led to the playoff.
“She made her putt and that was awesome,” said Silvers. “She earned that, making that long birdie putt. That was pretty cool, so congratulations to her. I just wanted to give mine a chance and I did, it really looked pretty good until the last two feet.”
It is the first Symetra Tour win for Meadow, the former four-time All-American at the University of Alabama. The victory is also the first on the Symetra Tour for a woman from Northern Ireland.
“It has been a long road for me so the hard work pays off,” Meadow said. “It just feels amazing right now.”
Silvers Pleased with Result
Even though she came out on the losing end in the playoff, Carleigh Silvers was excited about how she performed at the 3rd annual IOA Championship.
To get to that point, however, Silvers said was unbelievable.
“I would’ve been shocked. I was thinking I have to shoot low today to get up there,” said Silvers. “To see where I finished at, I’m really surprised.”
Heading into the day, Silvers was tied for third at 3-under par. A bogey-free front nine, combined with two birdies, had her in contention when she made the turn. However, bogey on Nos. 10 and 11 brought Silvers back to Earth for a moment, until she regained her poise and jumped to the lead with back-to-back birdies on Nos. 16 and 17.
She didn’t even glance at a leaderboard once on the afternoon. So, when Silvers lined up her par putt on No. 18 to remain at 5-under par, essentially for the win, she had no idea she held the solo lead.
“I was pretty nervous. I have never been in a playoff before,” Silvers said. “It was fun to be in that position. Obviously, I’m super bummed that I didn’t finish it off, especially now that I know I was coming into 18 with a one-shot lead.”
For her first Symetra Tour event of 2018, the only place Silvers can go is up. Her performance at the IOA Championship is something for her to build off of ahead of the IOA Invitational in Milton, Ga., from May 4-6.
“It’s huge. I’ve never been in contention like this, really,” said Silvers. “To start out the year like that gives me a lot of confidence and a lot of momentum going into the rest of the year, just that I can do this.”
Symetra Tour Honors Humboldt Crash Victims
As the entire country of Canada mourns following the tragic accident in Saskatchewan on Friday with the Humboldt Broncos junior ice hockey team that left 15 players and staff dead, several Canadian individuals on the Symetra Tour decided to honor them today.
Brittany Marchand (Mississauga, Ontario), Elizabeth Tong (Thornhill, Ontario) and Augusta James (Bath, Ontario) each wore a green ribbon during the final round to join their nation in paying respect to the victims.
“It definitely hits home, I think as an athlete in general. Parents put their kids into sports to be safe and healthy,” said Marchand. “My caddie, who played hockey growing up, reflected on how many trips he took on a bus with his team. It definitely hits home for so many people.”
Even though the players had a job to do and may have mentally been at the course, their hearts were thousands of miles away with their homeland.
“They were going to a hockey tournament just like any of us could've been driving to a golf tournament,” Tong said. “It always means a lot to me to represent Canada, but today, honoring those crash victims meant that no matter the outcome, I was going to feel proud to play the sport I love just like those hockey players who passed loved to play the sport they loved. My prayers go out to all the families and survivors.”
Stephanie Meadow's Winner's Interview
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