Matthew, 43, wins title at Killeen Castle
Some things just seem to get better with age. Some people too. Scotland’s Catriona Matthew is living proof of that.
Matthew turns 43 later his month but seems to be playing like a 23-year-old. She’s just picked up her fifth Ladies European Tour event. She fed off last year’s Solheim Cup success to claim victory in the Ladies Irish Open at Killeen Castle.
The professional from North Berwick, Scotland, played a key part in last year’s European Solheim Cup victory, and continued that form with rounds of 67, 71 and 71 for a 7-under total of 209. Matthew bogeyed the last hole when she bunkered her approach shot, but still won by a stroke over Solheim Cup teammate Suzann Pettersen, and bettered Laura Davies by four strokes.
“I think it was always going to be difficult coming back here in a way with so many good memories,” Matthew said. “It could have worked either way but maybe I was a little bit inspired by some of my play from last year in the Solheim Cup.”
Matthew won three points out of four in helping Europe win last year’s Solheim Cup. She made her sixth appearance in last year’s match, and no one would be surprised if she were to play in a seventh next year.
The Scot made history three years ago when she won the Women’s British Open at Royal Lytham & St. Annes just 10 weeks after giving birth to her second child. She remains the only Scottish woman to win one of golf’s major championships. Indeed, she is the only Scottish golfer in recent years to taste victory in the majors. Paul Lawrie was the last Scottish man to win a major, taking the Open Championship in 1999 at Carnoustie.
While there is no telling how many wins Matthew will win in her 40s, the good news is there seems to be a good young Scot following in her footsteps. Twenty-year-old Carly Booth began the final round in second place, but faded with a 76 to finish in 7th place. Nevertheless, Booth has already won twice this year, and leads the LET order of merit with €141,813.80 in earnings from 10 tournaments.
England isn’t short of good young talent either. Sixteen-year-old Curtis Cup player Charley Hull placed 18th in Ireland, in only her second LET event. The player from Woburn Golf Club, Ian Poulter’s home club, made the cut earlier this year in the Kraft Nabisco Championship and finished T-38.
Matthew might have some young company in the shape of Booth and Hull in future Solheim Cups.