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Stephanie Meadow, U.S. Open sensation, wants to represent Ireland at Olympics

Stephanie Meadow

PINEHURST, NC - JUNE 21: Stephanie Meadow of Northern Ireland plays her tee shot at the par 4, 13th hole during the third round of the 69th U.S. Women’s Open at Pinehurst Resort & Country Club, Course No. 2, on June 21, 2014 in Pinehurst, North Carolina. (Photo by David Cannon/Getty Images)

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Stephanie Meadow, a Northern Ireland golfer who finished third in her professional debut at the U.S. Women’s Open last month, opted to represent Ireland over Great Britain at the Rio Olympics, should she qualify.

Since Northern Ireland does not compete separately at the Olympics, its golfers, such as Rory McIlroy, had the option of playing under the Irish or British flags.

Meadow, 22, is in better position to qualify for the first Olympic golf tournament since 1904 for Ireland than Great Britain. It’s a similar scenario to that of McIlroy, who also chose Ireland.

The men’s and women’s fields for the 2016 Olympic golf tournaments are set to include 60 players each. Everybody in the top 15 of the world rankings two years from now will be eligible up to four per country.

After that, the fields will be filled by the next highest-ranked players with a maximum of two players per nation.

Meadow is ranked No. 83, the highest of any golfer from Northern Ireland or Ireland. The next-highest is No. 126.

The highest-ranked British golfers are Catriona Matthew (No. 17) and Charley Hull (No. 30).

Meadow, 22, played her college golf at Alabama before turning pro.

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