Top 10 female amateurs: No. 3 Stephanie Meadow

Alabama's Stephanie Meadow at No. 14 on Wednesday at the 2012 NCAA Division I Women's Golf Championships.

The amateur season roared in with talk of the Curtis Cup in Scotland, and died down with the Women’s World Amateur Team Championship in Turkey, which made patriotism a big part of 2012. But in terms of women’s amateur golf, 2012 also was the year of the Kiwi (read: Lydia Ko) and the last summer of the Jutanugarn sisters.

Golfweek will spend 10 days counting down the top amateur players of the past year. Who will be No. 1? Who else will make the list? Check back each day.

No. 3: Stephanie Meadow

R&A’s World Amateur Golf Ranking: 13

2012 in review: Member of Alabama’s national championship-winning team; one collegiate victory; GB&I Curtis Cup team; won Ladies British Amateur; qualified for U.S. Women’s Open

The biggest sign that Meadow had made it big in 2012 was when, in early July, her name was thrown in with Graeme McDowell and Rory McIlroy. Meadow made so many headlines late in the spring that she became known as the next great golf prodigy of Northern Ireland.

Meadow was crucial in Alabama’s romp to the national title. She opened with rounds of 69-73 at the Vanderbilt Legends Club in Franklin, Tenn., to help the Crimson Tide take the early-week lead. Weeks later, she was even more crucial in GB&I’s Curtis Cup victory in Nairn, Scotland.

Meadow not only secured three points for her team that week, but she made the final putt to give her team the victory. The match came down to Meadow and Amy Anderson in Sunday singles, and Meadow never let up against Anderson, who turned out to be the strongest American player that week. Meadow won on the 16th green, 4 and 2, and her teammates erupted.

Her success continued at the Ladies British Amateur at the end of the month. Meadow had to defeat Georgia sophomore Rocio Sanchez Lobato in the final match, and won, 4 and 3. She played in the U.S. Women’s Open just three days later (gaining entry courtesy of the Ladies British victory), but missed the cut. She didn’t make another transatlantic flight for the Women’s British. Meadow, after all, also had summer school to worry about.

The only stumble for Meadow during the summer was at the U.S. Women’s Amateur, where she failed to make match play. When school resumed, however, Meadow came back to lead the team in scoring through the fall. Seems she’s back to her normal self.

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