Age not a barrier in golf, says Catriona Matthew

Catriona Matthew, the 1996 winner, will compete at this week's ISPS Handa Women's Australian Open
Catriona Matthew, the 1996 winner, will compete at this week's ISPS Handa Women's Australian Open
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Catriona Matthew, the 1996 winner, joins Gemma
Dryburgh and Michele Thomson in providing the Scottish representation in this week’s ISPS Handa Women’s Australian Open in Adelaide.

Kylie Henry and Carly Booth narrowly missed out in a qualifier for the event, leaving the experienced Matthew and rising stars Dryburgh and Thomson to fly the Saltire at Kooyonga Golf Club.

“You wouldn’t be out here if you didn’t think you could – that’s the beauty of golf, you can compete at different ages,” said Solheim Cup Matthew in spelling out that she still believes she can be a contender in big events.

Dryburgh, who secured her place in the field through the LPGA, finished in a tie for 66th last year, just behind Thomson in joint-64th. “I’m feeling more comfortable this year and a bit more used to everything,” said Dryburgh. “This week I’d love to finish top 30 and improve on last year.”

Thomson has been Down Under for more than a month and finished in a tie for 15th in the Canberra Classic last week. “I’m really pleased with how things are going forward and I’m hoping to take some positives from last week and play well here,” said the Aberdeen woman.

Also in the field is Edinburgh-based American Beth Allen, who finished joint-seventh 12 months ago behind Korea’s Ha-Na Jang. “I love these courses
in Adelaide, I really do, so I’m excited about this one,” said Allen, the 2016 LET Order of Merit winner.

This week’s field features eight of the world’s top 20 players, including So Yeon Ryu, Cristie Kerr, Lydia Ko, Brooke Henderson and Ariya Jutanugarn.

In the amater ranks, Scottish players got off to a slow start in the African Amateur Championship, won last year by Dumfries man Liam Johnston. As Frenchman Frédéric LaCroix set the pace with a five-under-par 67 at Glendower, Sam Locke and Calum Fyfe fared best of the Scots with matching 74s while Darren Howie had a 75.