Catriona Matthew became
the first Scottish female to win a major
Wins the British Open 2009
'Supermum' who gave birth 11 weeks ago becomes first Scottish woman to
Corrigan at Royal Lytham & St Annes
Supermum succeeded where the Golden Oldie failed. Just 11 weeks after
giving birth to her second daughter, Catriona Matthew became the first
Scottish female to win a major here yesterday, at the same time handing
British women's golf a huge and much-needed boost.
In many respects, Matthew's heroics at this Ricoh Women's British Open
were just as remarkable as the age-defying run of Tom Watson at the male
equivalent two weeks ago. After all, the evergreen 59-year-old could not
convert his last-day advantage into the first prize. Matthew, just three
weeks short of her 40th birthday, did, and did so rather nervelessly.
She lost her lead, then regained it, eventually cruising home by three
shots from fast-finishing Australian Karrie Webb.
And then there was the rust shook off by Matthew. Due to the arrival of
Sophie, the world No 64 was making only her second competitive outing in
five months. The next time a pro moans about "an interrupted
preparation" they should stand back while Catriona's story is thrown
back in their faces. They might even need gas and air to get through it.
Typically of Matthew, she managed to hold back the emotion which
threatened to overflow on the 18th green when following Laura Davies,
Alison Nicholas and Karen Stupples as the fourth British major winner in
history. "I'm just about speechless," she said. "I had a tear in my eye
coming up the final fairway but told myself to keep it together. There
were some anxious moments out there and I have to thank Graeme [her
husband and caddie] for helping me a lot."
When asked how she had managed to prevail so soon after labour, Matthew
claimed it had actually assisted her challenge. "When I had my first,
Katie, two years ago, I finished second and third on my first two
outings," she explained. "And this time, it was not as difficult as the
first. I actually began practising five weeks after the birth. When I'm
playing I don't get time to practise much so that extra time was a
benefit. And although Graeme probably won't agree, I think motherhood
has calmed me down on the course. Everything's more in perspective."
Although the spotlight will inevitably fall on her whirlwind few months
– last week at her comeback event, the Evian Masters, she and Graeme
were forced to flee a burning hotel – this victory was, in fact, the
product of 14 tough years as a professional. She admitted there "had
been times when I questioned whether I could do it". In 2001, Matthew
was demoralised after letting slip a one-shot lead in the final round at
Sunningdale and again in 2007 when a third-round 80 at St Andrews
destroyed a winning chance. All of these experiences proved vital in
yesterday's fraught early stages.
Three clear overnight, Matthew bogeyed three of the first 10 holes and
fell into a tie with Japan's Ai Miyazato. But then Matthew, playing the
feared Lytham back nine, sank putts of 15 feet at the 13th and 35-feet
at the 14th and two-putted the long 15th for a third successive birdie.
With the rivals around her suddenly falling back, the destination of the
£200,000 cheque was not in doubt. At three-under, Matthew was the only
member of the 144-strong field who broke par.
Meanwhile, on the British front, Matthew was the only finisher in the
top 30. Only four of her countrywoman survived the cut and as only Vikki
Laing, 28, is under 35, the paucity of young British talent is obvious.
Surely this triumph will inspire the home champions of the future. Not
to mention the mums of the future. "We'll have to see about the rest of
the year, but the Tour has great childcare facilities and the four of us
will set off on Tour next year," said Matthew. They should prove a
Other famous Scottish Lady Golfers