Matthew sets course on fire after narrow escape

Scot who survived hotel blaze last week burns up links to take share of lead

Forget for a moment that Catriona Matthew gave birth only 10 weeks ago, that this was just her sixth competitive round in five months or even that last week she escaped from a burning hotel. Players just don't shoot 30 for the feared back nine here. Men, women, supermums, fire heroines... whoever.

Indeed, the Scot's inward half of seven-under in the second round of the Ricoh Women's British Open can be considered one of the most remarkable of this golfing year so far. Certainly it contained the most remarkable six-hole stretch. Matthew, who turns 40 in three weeks' time, arrived on the 11th tee, two-over for the day. By the 17th tee she was five-under for the day. This was as close to golfing binary as it is surely possible to get.

It began with an eagle on the par-five when she clipped in a rescue wood from 214 yards to six feet and she was to add further birdies on the 13th, 15th and 16th. Yet by then the showstopper had already occurred on the par-three 12th. An eight-iron from 152 yards was perfectly floated. "It just popped in," said Matthew. Yes it did. Three months after Sophie had popped out.

The upshot was that Matthew, courtesy of this 67, grasped the clubhouse lead on three-under, alongside the Italian Giulia Sergas. Together with that honour came the pleasure of knowing that nobody, of either sex, had ever gone lower on the Lytham back nine in competition. Fair enough, the wind had switched direction from Thursday and was assisting rather than resisting. But, still. This was special.

"It was one of my best nines, yeah," said Matthew, who took 10 putts in her oh so notable nine. "And I missed a six-footer on 17 as well. So, not too bad."

As you can probably tell, the lady from North Berwick is not the most demonstrative. "I don't feel like Superwoman, no," she said. "This birth was slightly easier than the first two years ago. I mean, it doesn't take too long to get back into it."

In fact, it took Matthew just five weeks to start practising and then another four weeks to play her first event; last week's Evian Masters on the French side of Lake Geneva. As any new parent will confirm, what Matthew needed was sleep. But on the eve of the event, she was awoken by what she believed was a rainstorm. Her husband, Graeme – who also doubles up as her caddie – was on the balcony when she called him. "I said to him, 'Wow, listen to that rain'," explained Matthew. "He came in and said, 'What are you talking about?' The noise got louder and louder and when we eventually opened the door it was just flames and smoke everywhere."

The pair decided to run through the sprinklers, screaming "fire, fire" as they did so. "In the panic Graeme forgot to put his shoes on and burnt his foot and we lost a lot of our stuff, maybe two thirds of our clothes," revealed Matthew. "But we were just thankful we were on our own. If we had all been there, with our two daughters, we would have been so exhausted we would have been asleep. Fortunately, it was only the two of us."

Relief was the overwhelming emotion of that scary night. Just after the Matthews had got out, the porch roof collapsed. Meanwhile, Amy Yang, the South Korean professional, was on an upper floor (the Matthews were on the first) and threw her mattress off the balcony before jumping on to it safely.

A tragedy had been averted, but the incident inevitably hit the Tour hard. Some of the pros talked of being in shock and for Matthew it must have been particularly unsettling. But she shrugged it off, just as she made light of the after-effects of childbirth. "When I came back from having my first, Katie, I finished second and third on my first two outings," she laughed. "Maybe I started having babies too late."

Matthew's is an impressive tale and inevitably overshadowed all others yesterday. Michelle Wie was far from despondent despite a 76 which left her five-over. "I'm playing well," she said. With Supermum in this form, "well" might not be good enough.

Sport
football This was Kane’s night, even if he played just a small part of it
Travel
travel Dreamland Margate, Britain’s oldest amusement park, is set to reopen
News
news
News
Founders James Brown and Tim Southwell with a mock-up of the first ever ‘Loaded’ magazine in 1994
media
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

The saffron censorship that governs India: Why national pride and religious sentiment trump freedom of expression

The saffron censorship that governs India

Zareer Masani reveals why national pride and religious sentiment trump freedom of expression
Prince Charles' 'black spider' letters to be published 'within weeks'

Prince Charles' 'black spider' letters to be published 'within weeks'

Supreme Court rules Dominic Grieve's ministerial veto was invalid
Distressed Zayn Malik fans are cutting themselves - how did fandom get so dark?

How did fandom get so dark?

Grief over Zayn Malik's exit from One Direction seemed amusing until stories of mass 'cutting' emerged. Experts tell Gillian Orr the distress is real, and the girls need support
The galaxy collisions that shed light on unseen parallel Universe

The cosmic collisions that have shed light on unseen parallel Universe

Dark matter study gives scientists insight into mystery of space
The Swedes are adding a gender-neutral pronoun to their dictionary

Swedes introduce gender-neutral pronoun

Why, asks Simon Usborne, must English still struggle awkwardly with the likes of 's/he' and 'they'?
Disney's mega money-making formula: 'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan

Disney's mega money-making formula

'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan
Lobster has gone mainstream with supermarket bargains for £10 or less - but is it any good?

Lobster has gone mainstream

Anthea Gerrie, raised on meaty specimens from the waters around Maine, reveals how to cook up an affordable feast
Easter 2015: 14 best decorations

14 best Easter decorations

Get into the Easter spirit with our pick of accessories, ornaments and tableware
Paul Scholes column: Gareth Bale would be a perfect fit at Manchester United and could turn them into serious title contenders next season

Paul Scholes column

Gareth Bale would be a perfect fit at Manchester United and could turn them into serious title contenders next season
Inside the Kansas greenhouses where Monsanto is 'playing God' with the future of the planet

The future of GM

The greenhouses where Monsanto 'plays God' with the future of the planet
Britain's mild winters could be numbered: why global warming is leaving UK chillier

Britain's mild winters could be numbered

Gulf Stream is slowing down faster than ever, scientists say
Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

Donation brings total raised by Homeless Veterans campaign to at least £1.25m
Oh dear, the most borrowed book at Bank of England library doesn't inspire confidence

The most borrowed book at Bank of England library? Oh dear

The book's fifth edition is used for Edexcel exams
Cowslips vs honeysuckle: The hunt for the UK’s favourite wildflower

Cowslips vs honeysuckle

It's the hunt for UK’s favourite wildflower
Child abuse scandal: Did a botched blackmail attempt by South African intelligence help Cyril Smith escape justice?

Did a botched blackmail attempt help Cyril Smith escape justice?

A fresh twist reveals the Liberal MP was targeted by the notorious South African intelligence agency Boss