Topped shot on 72nd hole derails pro’s major-title hopes. Here’s what happened

stephanie meadow swings

Stephanie Meadow's bid for her first major title was derailed by an untimely top on Baltusrol's 18th hole.

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When Stephanie Meadow arrived at Baltusrol’s 18th hole, she had the opportunity to become a legend.

After Ruoning Yin posted eight under for the clubhouse lead at the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship, Meadow was the only golfer remaining on the course with a chance to catch her. At six under, the 31-year-old would need an eagle at the last to match Yin, but with the 18th playing as a reachable par-5, a 3 was not outside the realm of possibility.

Meadow split the fairway with her drive, leaving herself 243 yards to the flagstick. If she could get up-and-down from over two football fields away, she could force a playoff. The probability was low, but she still had a chance.

With the ball on a slight downslope, Meadow grabbed a fairway wood and took aim at the pin. She brought the club back past parallel and uncoiled with every ounce of energy she could muster.

The ball barely got off the ground. Instead of watching her ball soar toward the green, Meadow grimaced in disgust as she watched it skip toward the water.

“Obviously that was not my career best shot there on the second,” she said.

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In a stroke of good luck, the ball did not settle in the water as it skipped across the surface and settled on dry land. But after coming to the finisher with an outside shot at becoming a major champ, a topped approach was not what she had in mind.

“I tried to swing a little too hard,” Meadow said. “It happens. Best players in the world can do it.”

Luckily for Meadow, she was able to save par on the hole and sign for a one-under 70 for the final round. It put the finishing touches on a career week as she matched her career-best major finish and earned the largest paycheck of her career ($423,070).

“The check is not bad,” Meadow said. “I did my best. I laid it all out there, and that’s all I can do.”

Zephyr Melton Editor

Zephyr Melton is an assistant editor for where he spends his days blogging, producing and editing. Prior to joining the team at GOLF, he attended the University of Texas followed by stops with the Texas Golf Association, Team USA, the Green Bay Packers and the PGA Tour. He assists on all things instruction and covers amateur and women’s golf. He can be reached at