Stephanie Meadow never gave up hope of playing for Ireland at Rio Olympics

Stephanie Meadow

Stephanie Meadow

At first she was going, and then it looked like she would miss out, but golfer Stephanie Meadow never lost hope that she would represent Ireland at the Rio Olympics.
Having failed to make it via the automatic qualifying route, luck was on Stephanie’s side when the Dutch Olympic Committee withdrew their two competitors handing the 24-year-old a welcome reprieve.
“I was definitely disappointed when I missed out initially,” said the Co Antrim born golfer who now resides in America at Hilton Head Island.
“I kept looking at the rankings and I’d fall out and then be back in again. I kind of had a bit more hope than usual that I would get in as an alternative.
“People had been dropping out because of Zika and I heard the Netherland girls had some issues with their Federation so I kind of thought ‘it’s not over yet’ and I heard some more rumours about the Dutch girls and then I got the phone call from Paul McGinley which was great.”
Irish captain McGinley has been a constant source of information and reassurance for Stephanie during the bumpy process to Rio.
“I have been talking to him regularly for the best part of 18 months and we even played golf during the off season,” added Stephanie.
“He’s Paul McGinley, he loves team events, he so enthusiastic and excited and I think that has rubbed off on the rest of us.

“He gets everything done that needs to be done, he keeps us informed and he’s been really good about telling us what the course will be like in Rio and what we need to be practicing.”

On course it’s been a difficult season for Stephanie who hasn’t a full card on the LPGA and is mixing appearances on the second tier Symetra Tour, with Monday qualifying for LPGA events.
However, in recent months there has been signs of improvement and a return to the type of form that saw her finish third in the 2014 US Women’s Open.
It all means she’s heading to Rio on August the 12th with renewed confidence in her game and a determination to savour the experience – Zika risk and all.
“At the beginning Zika was blown out of proportion a little bit and people were freaking out but when you sit down and look at the facts it’s not as bad as it seems and you can take precautions and deal with it if it does happen,” added Stephanie.
“I’m going to stay in the Olympic Village – I never considered doing anything else – it should be a lot of fun.”
Padraig Harrington and Seamus Power will be representing Ireland in the men’s golf tournament from 11-14 August
Stephanie will jet into Rio on the 12th and will meet up with her team mate, Leona Maguire.
The women’s event runs from the 17-20 August.

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