Matthew gives British game a shot in the arm

'Supermum' who gave birth 11 weeks ago becomes first Scottish woman to win major

Supermum succeeded where the Golden Oldie failed. Just 11 weeks after giving birth to her second daughter, Catriona Matthew became the first Scottish female to win a major here yesterday, at the same time handing British women's golf a huge and much-needed boost.

In many respects, Matthew's heroics at this Ricoh Women's British Open were just as remarkable as the age-defying run of Tom Watson at the male equivalent two weeks ago. After all, the evergreen 59-year-old could not convert his last-day advantage into the first prize. Matthew, just three weeks short of her 40th birthday, did, and did so rather nervelessly. She lost her lead, then regained it, eventually cruising home by three shots from fast-finishing Australian Karrie Webb.

And then there was the rust shook off by Matthew. Due to the arrival of Sophie, the world No 64 was making only her second competitive outing in five months. The next time a pro moans about "an interrupted preparation" they should stand back while Catriona's story is thrown back in their faces. They might even need gas and air to get through it.

Typically of Matthew, she managed to hold back the emotion which threatened to overflow on the 18th green when following Laura Davies, Alison Nicholas and Karen Stupples as the fourth British major winner in history. "I'm just about speechless," she said. "I had a tear in my eye coming up the final fairway but told myself to keep it together. There were some anxious moments out there and I have to thank Graeme [her husband and caddie] for helping me a lot."

When asked how she had managed to prevail so soon after labour, Matthew claimed it had actually assisted her challenge. "When I had my first, Katie, two years ago, I finished second and third on my first two outings," she explained. "And this time, it was not as difficult as the first. I actually began practising five weeks after the birth. When I'm playing I don't get time to practise much so that extra time was a benefit. And although Graeme probably won't agree, I think motherhood has calmed me down on the course. Everything's more in perspective."

Although the spotlight will inevitably fall on her whirlwind few months – last week at her comeback event, the Evian Masters, she and Graeme were forced to flee a burning hotel – this victory was, in fact, the product of 14 tough years as a professional. She admitted there "had been times when I questioned whether I could do it". In 2001, Matthew was demoralised after letting slip a one-shot lead in the final round at Sunningdale and again in 2007 when a third-round 80 at St Andrews destroyed a winning chance. All of these experiences proved vital in yesterday's fraught early stages.

Three clear overnight, Matthew bogeyed three of the first 10 holes and fell into a tie with Japan's Ai Miyazato. But then Matthew, playing the feared Lytham back nine, sank putts of 15 feet at the 13th and 35-feet at the 14th and two-putted the long 15th for a third successive birdie. With the rivals around her suddenly falling back, the destination of the £200,000 cheque was not in doubt. At three-under, Matthew was the only member of the 144-strong field who broke par.

Meanwhile, on the British front, Matthew was the only finisher in the top 30. Only four of her countrywoman survived the cut and as only Vikki Laing, 28, is under 35, the paucity of young British talent is obvious. Surely this triumph will inspire the home champions of the future. Not to mention the mums of the future. "We'll have to see about the rest of the year, but the Tour has great childcare facilities and the four of us will set off on Tour next year," said Matthew. They should prove a formidable team.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

General Election 2015: Ed Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

He was meant to be Labour's biggest handicap - but has become almost an asset
General Election 2015: A guide to the smaller parties, from the the National Health Action Party to the Church of the Militant Elvis Party

On the margins

From Militant Elvis to Women's Equality: a guide to the underdogs standing in the election
Amr Darrag: Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister in exile still believes Egypt's military regime can be replaced with 'moderate' Islamic rule

'This is the battle of young Egypt for the future of our country'

Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister Amr Darrag still believes the opposition can rid Egypt of its military regime and replace it with 'moderate' Islamic rule, he tells Robert Fisk
Why patients must rely less on doctors: Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'

Why patients must rely less on doctors

Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'
Sarah Lucas is the perfect artist to represent Britain at the Venice Biennale

Flesh in Venice

Sarah Lucas has filled the British pavilion at the Venice Biennale with slinky cats and casts of her female friends' private parts. It makes you proud to be a woman, says Karen Wright
11 best anti-ageing day creams

11 best anti-ageing day creams

Slow down the ageing process with one of these high-performance, hardworking anti-agers
Juventus 2 Real Madrid 1: Five things we learnt, including Iker Casillas is past it and Carlos Tevez remains effective

Juventus vs Real Madrid

Five things we learnt from the Italian's Champions League first leg win over the Spanish giants
Ashes 2015: Test series looks a lost cause for England... whoever takes over as ECB director of cricket

Ashes series looks a lost cause for England...

Whoever takes over as ECB director of cricket, says Stephen Brenkley
Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power