Scotland’s Catriona Matthew fired a 1-under 71 on Sunday to finish at 12-under-par and capture a four-shot victory at the $1 million Lorena Ochoa Invitational Presented by Banamex and Jalisco It Happens Within You. Matthew outlasted co-second-round leader Anna Nordqvist and defending champion I.K. Kim, who both shot 71 to finish at 8-under par.
Matthew, who led by three strokes entering the final round, got off to a hot start en route to her victory. She tallied birdies on her first two holes of the day. She then added birdies on No. 6 and No. 9 to shoot 32 on the front and make the turn at 15-under-par with an eight-shot lead. A bogey on the par-4 12th hole cut Matthew’s lead to five. It was only the second bogey of the tournament for Matthew, who had a streak of 52 consecutive holes without a bogey. Matthew dropped two more shots with bogeys on 15 and 17 but managed to hold on for the win.
“I think in a way it’s just that much more difficult when you’ve got such a big lead,” Matthew said. “I didn’t know whether to keep trying to go for birdies or just play for pars and see if they make birdies, and in the end I kinda did neither and just kind of messed up a couple of holes there, but luckily I had a big lead. In a way it’s more difficult when you’ve got a big lead because you know it heats up at the turn and if you lose that, it’s not very good, so it’s more pressure.”
The victory at the Lorena Ochoa Invitational is Matthew’s fourth career victory on the LPGA Tour and her first in over two years. Her last LPGA win came at the 2009 RICOH Women’s Open, when she captured her second major title just 11 weeks after giving birth to her second daughter.
“I’m absolutely delighted,” Matthew said of her win. “Already I don’t think it’s quite sunk in yet. I got off to a good start and hung in there in the last few holes, so exhausted at the moment but I’m sure I will pick up after a margarita.”
A mother’s drive: The 42-year-old Matthew had a rare occurrence this week as no one from her family was with her on the road in Guadalajara.
Matthew’s husband, Graeme, is her full-time caddy and their two daughters Katie and Sophie, who are 4 and 2, often join the couple during tournament weeks. But with Matthew having to play internationally and be away from home without her kids for a stretch of six out of seven weeks, she had her husband stay home with their daughters in Scotland while she headed to Mexico this week. She had an old friend, Chuck, who is a caddy on the PGA Tour, carry her bag for the week.
“I think in a way it makes me try to concentrate and focus harder, because I’m away from family so I try and make the most of it,” Matthew said after her round on Saturday. “They travel maybe 60% of the time with us. They have a good day care system in the States so that works out well. Yeah it’s difficult when you’re away but I’m going to be home for two months so back to being a normal mom.”