CATRIONA Matthew rounded off an encouraging opening phase of her 2013 campaign by clinching a share of tenth spot behind American Stacy Lewis in the HSBC Women’s Champions in Singapore.
It followed her eighth and 14th place finishes in Australia and Thailand the two previous weeks and has set the North Berwick woman up nicely for her two top targets this year – the Ricoh Women’s British Open a St Andrews and the Solheim Cup in Colorado, both in August.
“I was pleased with how I played on the whole,” said Matthew after signing off with a two-under-par 70 for seven-under-par total of 281 at Sentosa Golf Club. “I thought it was a pretty tricky course and I didn’t think the scoring would be as low as it has been.
“I’m pleased with my three weeks. I’ve got a few things to work on the next couple of weeks but I’m pleased with my start.”
The 2009 British Women’s Open champion, who is bidding to make her seventh Solheim Cup appearance after playing a key role in the dramatic European victory at Killeen Castle in Ireland two years ago, attributed her fast start to the new season to a training stint in Abu Dhabi in January with coach Kevin Craggs.
“I think that definitely helped,” she added. “I had probably four-and-a-half days of really good practice with Kevin. I think that really helped to get me swinging it better for the start of the year. I’m not feeling quite as rusty as last year.”
After a two-week break at home, Matthew will be making her first trip of the year to the United States for the Kia Classic later in the month before turning her attention to the season’s first major – the Kraft Nabisco in California.
Gazing further into the season, she said: “I’m looking forward to the Solheim and St Andrews will be great, so there’s some good things to look forward to.”
Lewis closed with a 71 for a 15-under-par total of 273 to win by a shot from Korea’s Na Yeon Choi and by two from fellow American Paula Creamer.
It was the 28-year-old sixth career success and she described the hybrid that set up an eagle-3 at the 493-yard seventh as “probably the best shot I’ve ever hit”.