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Nice start: Meadow finishes third in pro debut

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PINEHURST, N.C. – Stephanie Meadow will never forget her debut as a professional.

The 22-year-old from Northern Ireland finished third in the U.S. Women’s Open Sunday at Pinehurst No. 2. She did so playing alongside Juli Inkster, who was competing in her 35th and final U.S. Women’s Open.

With a 1-under-par 69, Meadow secured a healthy paycheck in her pro debut, taking home $271,373.

“It’s been amazing,” said Meadow, who helped the University of Alabama win a national championship in 2012. “Couldn’t have pictured a better way to start my professional career.”

Meadow has no status on the LPGA or Symetra tours. Her money winnings Sunday don’t earn her any status. She said she’s looking for sponsor invites in a bid to win enough equivalent money by year’s end to earn her LPGA card. She also plans to try to Monday qualify for LPGA events.

She said she learned some things playing with Inkster that will help her.

“I learned so much from her composure,” Meadow said. “Her short game is amazing ... She’s a star. She’s a legend. Just to be beside her was unbelievable.”