Catriona Matthew qualifies for US Women’s Open

Catriona Matthew. Picture: Neil Hanna
Catriona Matthew. Picture: Neil Hanna
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Catriona Matthew will maintain her record of playing in all but one US Women’s Open contests since 1996 after qualifying for this month’s event at Shoal Creek in Alabama.

The Solheim Cup captain found herself involved in the event’s LET qualifier for the first time after slipping down the world rankings since competing in the Olympics in 2016.

But it was mission accomplished as Matthew secured one of only four spots up for grabs in the USGA event in the 36-hole shoot-out at Buckinghamshire Golf Club.

The 48-year-old finished second behind Swedish amateur Linn Grant after carding rounds of 69 and 75 for a level-par total, the other spots going to England’s Mel Reid and Sarah Schober of Austria.

On three over, Matthew’s fellow Scot, Heather MacRae, got herself into a five-way play-off for the last spot but bowed out at the first exra hole.

The only time Matthew has missed the US Women’s Open since her debut 22 years ago was due to the fact she was pregnant with her second child in 2009, the year she won the Women’s British Open.

Meanwhile, five Scots have taken the first step towards being in the running for next year’s Walker Cup after having been named in a Great Britain & Ireland squad.

The quintet, which includes 19-year-old Scottish champion Sam Locke, are among 20 players named in a group being considered for the St Andrews Trophy match against the Continent of Europe in Finland.

Cawder’s Calum Fyfe, Ryan Lumsden of Royal Wimbledon, Nairn’s Sandy Scott and Jamie Stewart of Old Ranfurly are also in a squad chasing nine spots in a team that will be captained by Craig Watson in July.

Former Amateur champion Watson was forced to step down as Walker Cup captain for last year’s match in Los Angeles due to a bereavement but is now looking forward to taking up the GB&I reins once again.

“I’m delighted to resume the role and am excited about the potential of the new crop of players coming through and contending for a place in the team,” he said. “We know we will be in for a tough match in Finland and we will need a strong team if we are to win the trophy.”