(LYTHAM ST ANNES, LANCASHIRE – Sunday 2nd August 2009) – Super mum Catriona Matthew secured a three shot victory at the Ricoh Women’s British Open at Royal Lytham and St Annes Golf Club.
She became not only the first ever Scot to win a women’s major championship, but the fourth ever Brit to do so following Laura Davies, Alison Nicholas and Karen Stupples.
Just 11 weeks ago, Matthew gave birth to her second daughter Sophie and only 10 days ago she escaped a burning apartment building in France. The win completed a rollercoaster three months for the 39-year-old, who can celebrate her first ever Major championship victory.
“I really can’t believe it. I had a tear in my eye there coming up the last and I’m overcome by it all,” said Matthew, who won the 1993 British Amateur championship at Royal Lytham 16 years ago.
“It was always an aim to win a major and the British Open was the one for me. You wonder if your chances are running out but I’m just absolutely delighted.”
She thanked her husband/caddie Graeme and both sets of parents, who have been looking after their children for the past two weeks.
Matthew eventually finished three strokes clear of the three-time Women’s British Open champion Australian Karrie Webb, but she endured a shaky start.
She reduced her overnight lead from three shots to one after bogeys at the first, third and 10th holes, but established a four stroke cushion after three straight birdies from the 13th.
“I didn’t play particularly well but I holed a good putt on the 13th and 14th and hit my best two shots on the 15th and hang on for the end.”
Matthew dropped a shot at the tough par-four 17th-hole after she found a fairway bunker and hit her second shot into the rough near the green but she was three strokes clear of the field with a hole to play.
A regulation par – and a tap-in putt to win – rounded off a final round of 73 for a total of 285, three-under-par and a first prize of £197,059.
It was Matthew’s sixth professional victory, excluding the 2009 inaugural HSBC LPGA Brasil Cup at the beginning of the year, which was an unofficial LPGA event.
Webb fired a final round of 68 to finish at even par for the tournament, with four players a stroke back in a share of third place.
Paula Creamer of the United States came within a stroke of Matthew after she birdied holes 15 and 16, but she fell back to one-over-par after a costly double-bogey at the last.
The colourful American Christina Kim shot 74 to tie Creamer, South Korean Hee-Won Han and the previous week’s Evian Masters champion, Japanese star Ai Miyazato.
Kristy McPherson of the United States finished seventh on two-over-par with three further players rounding out the top ten places.
American Cristie Kerr, South Korean Na Yeon Choi and the 2008 champion Jiyai Shin tied for eighth place on three-over-par.
American teenager Michelle Wie was equal 11th with five other players including Sweden’s Maria Hjorth and Italy’s Giulia Sergas.