Catriona Matthew recalls Open win as she returns to Royal Lytham

Catriona Matthew lifts the Open trophy in 2009. Pic: Getty
Catriona Matthew lifts the Open trophy in 2009. Pic: Getty
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Most major winners are only just getting to bed at 3am the next morning – but not when you’ve just become a mum for the second time 11 weeks earlier.

For Catriona Matthew, it was a cup of tea to toast her triumph in the British Women’s Open at Royal Lytham in 2009 and getting up in the middle of night to feed new daughter Sophie.

“My dad wasn’t that well back then and my mum was being a real trooper looking after things,” recalled the North Berwick woman in the build up to the Ricoh-sponsored event being back at the Lancashire venue this week. “They came on the Friday and I was doing media stuff and both Katie and Sophie started screaming and howling and my mum said, ‘I’m not coming back’.

“On the Sunday after I’d won, my mum had been doing the three in the morning feed so I said, “I’ll get up and do it’. I was sitting there with a cup of tea with the trophy on the table.

“My mum woke up and the three of us were sitting there, I was sitting there with Sophie feeding her and we were celebrating with our cup of tea.”

No matter what the tipple was, it was certainly a triumph worth celebrating and not just because Matthew earned “supermum” status that week.

She was – and still is – the first Scottish player to win a women’s major, claiming a three-shot success over Australian Karrie Webb by firing rounds of 74-67-71-73 for a three-under-par total.

“I’ve never been back to Lytham,” said Matthew, who is flying the Saltire on this occasion with Kylie Henry. “It’s amazing to think the British has never been back either.

“It was a bit of blur that whole week. It was quite a long time afterwards that I realised the magnitude of the feat.

“At the time I just got on with it. It was 11 weeks after Sophie was born. But you just did what was required, feeding and all that. It all passed in a blur. You look back and think, ‘that was quite amazing’.”

The week before, while playing in the Evian Masters in France, Matthew and her husband Graeme had to flee their hotel room in the middle of the night to escape a fire.

“That was my first week back,” added the 2019 Solheim Cup captain. “I started hitting balls a few days before Evian. If only I could get that feeling every time I play.

“I just went to the Open with no expectations and no pressure on myself. It’s hard to do that every week though. That was almost a one-off.”

Turning her attention back to this week’s event, Matthew said: “Graeme is going to caddie again and come out of retirement. It will be great.

“Any time you get to go back to a course where you’ve had success is special. The fact is was my first major makes it even more special.”

Newly-crowned Ladies Scottish Open champion Ariya Jutanugarn heads this week’s field and Matthew can’t wait for some good memories to come flooding back.

“After the second round, it started to become a possibility that I could win,” said the 48-year-old. “Going there, I thought a top 20 would be good and that was my goal, show a bit of form and try to sneak a Solheim spot.

“After that second round, I had a great back nine and I was in the lead. If I’m honest I still didn’t think I could do it. But after the third round I was still up there and that changes the thinking.

“It’s nice I’m the last Scottish major winner. I’d like that to end though with someone else winning one.”

Reflecting on a missed cut in her home Open at Gullane last week, she added: “I’ve not been playing that well and even though I’m hitting the ball well, I’m struggling to get it in the hole. But one putt or one shot at the right time can get some momentum going.”