Matthew slips back after early Classic charge

Scotland's Catriona Matthew opened with a 65 in New Jersey. Photograph: Hunter Martin/Getty
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Scotland's Catriona Matthew opened with a 65 in New Jersey. Photograph: Hunter Martin/Getty Images

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Scotland’s Catriona Matthew slipped back into a share of eighth place in the ShopRite LPGA Classic yesterday after adding a second-round 70 to her opening 65 in the United States.

Matthew had eagled the par-five third and entered the back nine at five under after birdies on holes five, six and nine in the first round at Stockton Seaview Hotel and Golf Club, Galloway, New Jersey.

The 46-year-old managed just one more birdie, on the 18th, on Friday but headed into yesterday’s second round well-placed at six under in a tie for fourth place, just one shot behind the leading triumvirate of Japan’s Ai Miyazato, South Africa’s Paula Reto and last year’s winner Anna Nordqvist from Sweden.

However, after yesterday’s one-under-par 70 the North Berwick player finds herself five shots behind leader Karine Icher, of France, whose second-round 62 rocketed her to the top of the leaderboard.

Meanwhile, England’s Matt Fitzpatrick will take a commanding lead into the final round of Sweden’s Nordea Masters after repelling a spirited challenge from Nicolas Colsaerts in Stockholm. Fitzpatrick, pictured, took a three-shot lead into the third day at Bro Hof Slott Golf Club thanks to a flawless 65 on Friday, but saw that wiped out in the space of eight holes by playing partner Colsaerts.

Belgian Colsaerts, who has not won since victory in the Volvo World Match Play Championship in 2012 led to him being selected as a Ryder Cup wild card, birdied the fourth and sixth to close the gap as Fitzpatrick recorded a string of pars.

And the 33-year-old then moved into the outright lead thanks to a two-shot swing on the eighth, where he holed from 20 feet for birdie and Fitzpatrick failed to get up and down from short of the green.

However, Fitzpatrick instantly bounced back from only his second bogey of the week with a birdie on the par-five ninth and regained the outright lead with another two-shot swing on the 10th, the 21-year-old holing from 20 feet for birdie as Colsaerts bogeyed following a wild drive.

Fitzpatrick, who won his first European Tour title in the British Masters last year and was seventh in the Masters in April, then rolled in a hat-trick of birdies from the 13th and eventually signed for a 68 to finish 15 under par, five shots ahead of Colsaerts and defending champion Alexander Noren. A win today would see Fitzpatrick regain third place in the Ryder Cup qualifying race from Chris Wood, who won the BMW PGA Championship.

Scott Henry is the best-placed Scot on 210.

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