Date: August 03, 2009
Author: PA Sport

Webb second in British Open

Catriona Matthew became the first Scot ever to win one of the four majors in women&aposs golf – a mere 11 weeks after becoming a mother for the second time – as she held off a fast-finishing Karrie Webb in the British Open. Playing only her second tournament since returning to the game, Matthew took the British Open at Royal Lytham by three strokes from Webb. “I had a tear in my eye coming up the last,” said the 39-year-old, who has been a professional for 14 years. “I was overcome by it all.” Three clear with a round to go, things looked to be slipping away when she bogeyed the first, third and 10th and fell into a tie with Japan&aposs Ai Miyazato, winner of last week&aposs Evian Masters in France. But then Matthew sank putts of 15 and 35 feet at the 13th and 14th and two-putted the long 15th for a third successive birdie to go clear. Although she bogeyed the 17th, the big mistakes were being made elsewhere. American star Paula Creamer, having climbed into second place, double-bogeyed the last and Miyazato double-bogeyed the 17th. Matthew, who with her husband Graeme had to escape from an apartment block fire in France last week, took the first prize of just over 197,000 pounds with a closing 73 and three-under aggregate of 285. “I really can&apost quite believe it,” said world No.64 Matthew after hugging her husband, who also acts as her caddie and who had already taken the flag off the flagstick when he put it back in the hole on the last. “I think having children has kind of calmed me down. I don&apost get as bad-tempered – Graeme might agree, he might not.” “My aim was always to win a major and the British for me is obviously the biggest. You do think chances might be running out and I am obviously delighted.” Webb, a three-time winner of the title and seven-time major champion, produced a best-of-the-day 68, including an eagle on the 15th and birdie on the 16th. But it was not entirely a happy week for the 34-year-old world No.9, though. She received a call just before teeing off in the first round on Thursday telling her that hers was one of the hotel rooms burgled while she was having breakfast. Jewellery was among &aposa lot of stuff&apos taken and Webb said her reaction after the call was: “How am I supposed to play now?” She shot a five-over-par 77, but played the final three rounds in five under to earn 123,539 pounds. Creamer and Miyazato ended up sharing third place on one over with American Christina Kim and Korean Hee-won Han. It was also the day on which Solheim Cup places for both the Americans and Europe were decided – but nothing changed. England&aposs Laura Davies, an ever-present in the match since it was launched in 1990, will play for the 11th time in Illinois later this month. The 45-year-old would have been left needing a wildcard if two players had gone past her on the points list, but Swedes Sophie Gustafson and Maria Hjorth, Norway&aposs Marianne Skarpnord and German Martina Eberl all failed to do it. Gustafson and Hjorth still qualified automatically along with Davies, Matthew, Suzann Pettersen, Helen Alfredsson, Gwladys Nocera, Tania Elosegui and Diana Luna. Natalie Gulbis was the United States player in danger of being knocked out, but Jane Park had to finish second and instead dropped to 17th. Gulbis joins Creamer, Kim, Cristie Kerr, Angel Stanford, Nicole Castrale, Brittany Lang, Morgan Pressel, Kristy McPherson and Brittany Lincicome as the automatic qualifiers. That left captains Alison Nicolas and Beth Daniel to name three and two wildcards respectively and it looked a certainty that 19-year-old Michelle Wie would be one of Daniel&aposs choices after a 69 lifted the 19-year-old to 11th place in the championship.