Catriona Matthew: New North Berwick star Grace Crawford has very good potential

Catriona Matthew has described the rising young North Berwick star shaping up to follow in her footsteps as having “very good potential”.

Former winner Catriona Matthew poses with the AIG Women's Open trophy during a visit to Carnoustie ahead of this year's event in August. Picture: Mark Runnacles/Getty Images/R&A.

The Solheim Cup captain was among the spectators as 14-year-old Grace Crawford won the North Berwick Ladies’ Championship recently, beating former Scottish Women’s champion Clara Young in a thrilling final.

Crawford finished birdie-birdie to take the match into extra holes then holed a 30-footer for a title-winning 3 at the 19th.

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“She’s the same age as Katie, my daughter, but very good potential,” said Matthew of Crawford, who subsequently lost in the final of the East Lothian Women’s Championship to Tara MacTaggart.

Fourteen-yar-old Grace Crawford shows off her trophy after winning the North Berwick Ladies' Championship. Picture: Ross Duncan Marketing & Communications.

“It was a breezy day, it was off the ladies’ tees but, still, there were 12 birdies and an eagle, that’s really good play.”

Young, who won the Scottish title at Monifieth in 2015, is testing herself against the men this week in the Pollok Open on Paul Lawrie’s Tartan Pro Tour.

“I think she’s looking to turn pro at the end of this year,” said Matthew of Young. “It’s been a real shame for that age group because they couldn’t do anything last year (due to the Covid-19 pandemic).”

Back up and running, this year’s Scottish Golf fixture list includes the upcoming Scottish Women’s Championship at Gullane, where Matthew lifted the title for the third time in four years in 1994.

This time around, the 51-year-old is helping some of the leading contenders in their preparation for the event through her mentoring role alongside Paul Lawrie for Scottish Golf.

“It’s been good helping a few of the top ones,” said Matthew, speaking at Carnoustie, where she will be playing in the AIG Women’s Open in August.

“Not coaching or anything, I’d never say I was a coach but just on-course stuff, preparation, the mental stuff and how to get round a golf course.

“It’ll be good to see them start playing events, watching them actually competing instead of practice. It’s how they cope with pressure at the end of the day that makes the difference.”

Asked what she was finding players need help with, the 2009 Women’s Open champion added: “How to get the best from your ball while not playing your best golf.

“You’re not going to play perfectly every time. That’s the difficult thing to accept sometimes.”

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