Olympics: Catriona Matthew happy to still be in the hunt

Catriona Matthew shot level-par 71 in the first round

Catriona Matthew shot level-par 71 in the first round

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Catriona Matthew admitted the Olympic Golf Course in Rio gets an A+ in her books, even if her first-round card reads ‘must do better’.

After the euphoria of Justin Rose becoming the first Olympic golf champion in 112 years, it was the turn of the women to pick up the mantle today.

Matthew was in the second group to tee off, heading out alongside Israel’s Laetitia Beck and Shiho Oyama of Japan.

The 46-year-old got off to an inauspicious start with two pars before a double bogey on the third hole.

However, she birdied holes six, nine and 11 to move one-under only to pick up a bogey two holes later.

Despite getting herself into good positions from this point onward, Matthew’s putts simply wouldn’t drop and she ended her first round with a level-par 71 to sit six shots behind leader Carlota Ciganda of Spain.

“I am a little bit disappointed,” she said. “I had a lot of chances in the last five or six holes and I hit a lot of good putts but they just didn’t go in.

“Overall, I am still in it and that is the main thing so I can’t be too disappointed.

“The third hole was a tricky pin and I probably shouldn’t have tried to be so aggressive. I plugged it in the bunker and it led to an easy double [bogey].

“Good birdies at six and nine to get back in it and played really well from the sixth hole on actually.

“I think it is a really good course and is a good test. For me the key is if you drive the ball well. The fairways look wide but they play a bit narrower than they look so you have to try and get it in the right spot.

“The greens are very good and you know as soon as you have hit the putt whether it is going to go in or not.”

In teeing off this morning, Matthew became the first British female golfer to hit a shot in an Olympic Games for more than a century.

And she insisted that history-making moment was weighing heavy on her shoulders at the first tee.

“It was a slightly different introduction to what we are used to and I was slightly nervous there on the first tee but it was good and it was nice to get started,” Matthew added.

“I don’t think it feels any different. Maybe come Saturday if you are in with a shout of a medal it might.

“But, at the moment, it is all about trying to get into position for that.

“Team GB are having a fantastic Olympics and hopefully that will spur us on.”

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