Catriona Matthew flies solo on major mission

Catriona Matthew plays a shot during her practice round for the KPMG Women's PGA Championship at Westchester Country Club. Picture: Getty
Catriona Matthew plays a shot during her practice round for the KPMG Women's PGA Championship at Westchester Country Club. Picture: Getty
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WHILE she will have Kylie Walker and Heather MacRae for company in next month’s US Women’s Open, Catriona Matthew finds herself in the almost customary position of flying the Saltire solo in a women’s major in the United States this week.

The North Berwick woman is in Harrison, New York, where the $3.5 million KPMG Women’s PGA Championship begins today at Westchester Country Club’s West Course.

Matthew heads into the event in buoyant mood, having finished eighth and 16th in her last two outings on the LPGA Tour, where one of those efforts resulted in her clocking up a 100th top-ten on the toughest circuit in ladies’ golf.

Two-time defending champion Inbee Park and world 
No 1 Lydia Ko lead a field representing 29 countries.

Ko, 18, is making her third consecutive Women’s PGA Championship appearance, and second as a professional.

The LPGA’s leading money-earner and youngest of any gender to be ranked No 1 in professional golf, she finished third last year.

Park captured back-to-back titles in 2013 and 2014 among her four career majors.

l Defending champion Mikael Lundberg hopes a return to 
Austria will rekindle the form with which he ended a six-year drought 12 months ago when he won the Lyoness Open in 
Atzenbrugg.

The Swede’s victory over home favourite Bernd Wiesberger in a sudden-death play-off last year was his first since the Russian Open in 2008.

That was a tournament where Lundberg excelled, winning twice and finishing in the top 14 seven times in 11 years, and he believes the Austrian venue can offer similar success. “I am definitely one of those guys who can click straight away in terms of form and confidence,” said the 41-year-old.

“With me it just takes one little thought and I can latch on to it pretty quickly and all of a sudden I am confident and know I can score well.

“Even coming back here to the Diamond Country Club and playing a practice round gives me good vibes about the week.

“It was the same in Russia – I just loved that golf course and every time I teed it up there I just knew that I could get round there and make a score. Hopefully I can do the same here this week.”