Scotland’s Solheim Cup star Catriona Matthew fired a final round 70 to secure her second Aberdeen Asset Management Ladies Scottish Open title in three years after a cold and blustery day at Archerfield Links in East Lothian.
The North Berwick local held steady in winds gusting up to 30 miles per hour to post a three-round total of eight-under-par after rounds of 71, 67 and 70. She ended two strokes ahead of England’s Hannah Burke, the only other player under par, on six-under after a final round 68, with fellow Englishwoman Holly Clyburn eight strokes further back on two-over.
An honorary member at Archerfield, where she practises regularly, Matthew was nonetheless surprised by the unseasonable conditions. “When it’s this windy I normally don’t practice! It was pretty windy out there!” she admitted.
She and husband Graeme, who was back on caddie duties, plotted their way around the course in front of a partisan gallery of home supporters and after sealing the win were greeted on the 18th green by daughters, Katie and Sophie.
“It’s great to win at home. It’s always nice play at home in front of your family and makes it special,” said Matthew, collecting her first win since the 2012 Ladies Irish Open and a first prize of £27,000.
After beginning the final round three strokes clear of two other players, the 44-year-old Scot quickly moved four clear with a birdie on the par-5 second.
A second birdie, at the tricky par-5 sixth, saw her extend her lead to five shots over England’s Hannah Burke and Matthew was six strokes ahead after eight holes, before hitting her second shot into a pot bunker left of the ninth green, resulting in a bogey there.
She was five clear at the turn before Burke eagled 11 to get within three and then, briefly, two, after a birdie on 12. Matthew responded with birdies on 11, 14 and 15. After a double bogey on 16, she played the final two holes in level par.
“I played really well today. It was very difficult with the wind. An amazing score by Hannah: four-under. I saw the leader board after 15 and I thought I’d be a few more ahead than I was. It was a little tense coming down the last few holes,” Matthew said.
“I made two really good birdies on 14 and 15 and 16, just missed the green a little with my second shot and a silly double really, a silly three-putt, but then hit a good shot into 17 and 18, a par-5, should be able to make five or six at worst.”
Matthew, Burke and Clyburn were joined by Scot Heather MacRae and South African Stacy Lee Bregman as the only five players to score under par on the final day.
Burke judged the greens particularly well. “You had to take the wind into consideration when putting and just had to be really cautious. Luckily enough I had Jo Morley on the bag so she helped me as well. She kept me smiling so it was a lot of fun out there,” said the 25-year-old from Welwyn Garden City, whose previous best finish in two years on tour was a tie for seventh in Slovakia two months ago.
“I would have taken level par at the beginning of the day with the wind but four-under-par was fantastic.”
LET rookie Holly Clyburn, who won the Deloitte Ladies Open champion in the Netherlands three months ago, once again proved an expert in adverse weather conditions while Scots Pamela Pretswell and Carly Booth, the 2012 champion, tied for fourth on three-over-par.
In the amateur competition running simultaneously, former Liverpool and Scotland international footballer Alan Hansen won with a total of 22-under-par. Eric Lambert ended a stroke back in second, with Angela Ford in third on 19-under-par.