Juli Inkster: rival Solheim Cup captain Catriona Matthew ‘has fire in her belly’

European Solheim Cup captain Catriona Matthew. Picture: Mark Runnacles/Getty Images
European Solheim Cup captain Catriona Matthew. Picture: Mark Runnacles/Getty Images
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Catriona Matthew may be quiet­ and unassuming but Juli Inkster reckons her counterpart when the pair lock horns as opposing Solheim Cup captains at Gleneagles will prove a formidable opponent.

“She’s got fire in her belly,” said Inkster of the North Berwick woman, who has been tasked with trying to win the trophy back for Europe on home soil next September. “She’s a very strong competitor and, being a home game, she will want to win. She will have that team ready and I am going to have to try and match that intensity.”

Matthew made her ninth playing appearance in the match in Des Moines last year after stepping in as a late replacement for the injured Suzann Pettersen, having travelled out to Iowa as one of Annika Sorenstam’s assistant captains.

“Beany played amazing in Des Moines,” said Inkster of the Scot picking up three points out of four, including a singles success against Stacy Lewis. “I’ve played a lot against her in Solheim Cups and I always knew it was going to be a tough match.

“She has probably flown under the radar on the LPGA Tour in terms of longevity and playing well for so long. That fits her perfectly. She likes to compete, but she doesn’t really like the limelight. She likes to fly under the radar.”

That radar has been lit up recently by Laura Davies, who claimed her second senior women’s major this year with a four-shot victory in the Senior LPGA Championship at French Lick in Indiana last week. Earlier this year, the former world No 1 said she had no desire to be Solheim Cup captain but Inkster reckons she should give that role a bash in the future. “I think she would surprise herself about how good a leader she would be,” said the American.