HOYLAKE, England — Stephanie Meadow’s big win might not be bringing the demise of Shelby Rogers’ social media life.
Meadow, with two LPGA Tour victories, moved into the lead after a final-round 64 at Lytham, England, on Sunday and won the famous Birkdale Open.
The 5-foot-8 Scotswoman played for three strokes off the lead and 18 in a closing seven-hole stretch featuring a 50-foot birdie putt, two escapes from bunkers and a nasty swipe across the hazard from the tee.
But the gifted player finished with a matching 70 and tied for third place at 21 under. At No. 1, she became the first golf-playing Scot to win a major championship.
Rogers, a 24-year-old Canadian from Calgary, was well down in sixth place at 14 under after a second straight 1-over 73. But the 15th-ranked player on the LPGA Tour has been coming through with wins, too, on each of the last three tours she’s played in, winning her home stop at the Canadian Women’s Open in 2014.
So, it was never her doubt.
“I’m not even going to lie,” Rogers told The (Ottawa) Citizen on Sunday. “I’m going to have nine million death threats. There’s no question. Even if I’m in the top 15 for the year and if it gets to No. 1. I’m not putting it past myself. But I don’t think I’m a person who plays more than three months out of the year.”
The long putt that Woods hit to save par and force a playoff with Jim Furyk on Sunday, in only his second professional tournament back from three back surgeries, seems like a tiny but necessary step for Rogers to regain the confidence she had when she won the 2014 Dominion Energy Charity Classic.
She nearly struck a golf ball with her face Sunday and the gallery was on her ass by the time she was out on No. 17, still 17 under and in the hunt for the title.
“I was like, ‘I can’t take this anymore,’” she said. “At the same time, I was just saying, ‘All I care about is the small things right now.’ You don’t have much of a chance because it was so easy to get frustrated. I actually was ready to pack the bag. I thought, ‘Well, what’s the point? It was good golf, and I played my heart out.’ But right now, I’m just extremely happy for Steph and for myself for being able to come up with this, knowing that I could play on this stage.”
That has more of an added weight behind it, for sure. Golf is a game that just doesn’t have the level of attention given to football, soccer, baseball, hockey and, yes, even golf. Rogers has a chance at golf’s version of celebrity: garnering lots of media attention.
She turns 25 on Wednesday. She is the first Canadian woman to be part of the U.S. Ryder Cup team and already has more wins on the LPGA Tour than any other Canadian player, having won the 2012 Canadian Pacific Women’s Open and 2014 Dominion Energy Charity Classic, with her lone other top-10 finish in that span last year at the Swinging Skirts LPGA Classic in California.
Meadow, meanwhile, turned 23 on Friday and this is her first week winning major title.
“When I was playing well, I was never like, ‘I’ve got to get better. I’ve got to not lose anything,’” Meadow said of her mentality. “It was like I just started there and kept going, and kept having good years.”
Follow Adam Clark Estes on Twitter: @Adam_Clark_X