Golf: Matthew and Caithness on track in Spain

NORTH BERWICK'S Catriona Matthew and Fifer Krystle Caithness teamed up to place Scotland in joint ninth place after an opening day three under par 69 in the Comunitat Valenciana European Nations Cup at La Sella Resort in Spain, writes ELSPETH BURNSIDE.

Under the better ball format, Matthew – who had trouble getting to Alicante due to the volcano ash cloud – contributed birdies at the second and third, and then Caithness stepped in to make gains at the ninth and 11th.

But they failed to pick up any more shots and dropped a shot at the 12th to finish in the middle of the field and three shots behind Austria (Nicole Gergely and Stefanie Michi) and hosts Spain (Tania Elosegui and Emma Cabrera-Bello).

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"It wasn't too bad for a first day, but just a little bit scrappy on the back nine," said Matthew, the Rich Women's British Open Champion. "Tomorrow is greensomes and that's a format when you can go for broke so we hope we can shoot a low one."

Caithness, playing for Scotland for a first time as a professional, added: "I really enjoyed today and hope we can do even better tomorrow. It is great getting the chance to play with Catriona and hope we can do well over the next few days."

Wales' Becky Brewerton and rookie Breanne Loucks were alongside Matthew and Caithness on 69, while England's Melissa Reid and Karen Stupples were tied for 13th on 71.