Catriona Matthew gets big gift for family
Scotland's Catriona Matthew did not need to worry about making a stop at a souvenir stand Sunday as she was leaving Guadalajara, Mexico. She was taking home a victory in the Lorena Ochoa Invitational.
With a final-round 1-under 71, Matthew finished 12 under par and claimed a four-shot victory over runners-up I.K. Kim and Anna Nordqvist. Then she had to call home.
Matthew, 42, typically travels with family. Her husband, Graeme, is her full-time caddie, and their two daughters -- Katie, 4, and Sophie, 2 -- often join the couple during tournament weeks. But with the LPGA's recent schedule taking the tour throughout the Far East before heading back to North America, mom decided to travel solo while everybody else remained home in Scotland.
With the family away, Matthew played really, really well. When it was over, she had her fourth career LPGA title, and first since the 2009 Women's British Open.
"I think in a way it makes me try to concentrate and focus harder, because I'm away from family so I try and make the most of it," Matthew told reporters afterward. "They travel maybe 60 percent of the time with us. They have a good daycare system in the States so that works out well. Yeah, it's difficult when you're away, but I'm going to be home for two months so back to being a normal mom."
Matthew, ranked 22nd in the world, played on this year's victorious European Solheim Cup team but had enjoyed limited success since winning the 2009 British. She had six top-10 finishes this season with a fourth-place finish at the ShopRite LPGA Classic in June her best effort.
Matthew, who led by three strokes entering the final round, made birdies on her first two holes and was never pressured. She added birdies on No. 6 and No. 9 to shoot 32 on the front and make the turn at 15 under par with an eight-shot lead.
"I'm absolutely delighted," she said afterward. ''I don't think it's quite sunk in yet. I got off to a good start and hung in there in the last few holes, so I'm exhausted at the moment, but I'm sure I will pick up after a margarita."
Close ... again
Kim was not able to defend the title she won last year but did produce her best finish of the 2011 season, finishing tied for second with Nordqvist, four shots back. Both runners-up closed with final-round 71s.
"She played awesome, you know," Kim said of Matthew. "We didn't really get any closer to her, so I don't think she got any bit nervous or pressure. I think she had her own kind of momentum going, so I'm very happy for her and, you know, it was nice for her."
Nordqvist also recorded a second for the first time in 2011. Her previous best finish was a tie for fourth at the Sunrise LPGA Taiwan Championship last month.
Four of the top eight finishers were part of the victorious 2011 European Solheim Cup team: Matthew, Nordqvist, Suzann Pettersen (seventh at 4-under) and Maria Hjorth (eighth at 3-under).
• 52: Consecutive holes to start the tournament by Matthew without a bogey.
• 7: Strokes out of the lead by 51-year-old Juli Inkster after being tied for the second-round lead. She was trying to become the LPGA's oldest winner. Beth Daniel won the 2003 Canadian Women's Open at 45.
• 3: Americans in the top 10 of this week's world rankings: No. 3 Cristie Kerr, No. 7 Paula Creamer and No. 10 Stacy Lewis.
In recognition of her 11 worldwide wins this season, tour officials declared Friday -- 11/11/11 -- as "Yani Tseng Day" on LPGA.com, the LPGA's social networking sites and at LPGA headquarters in Daytona Beach.
During the day, LPGA.com, LPGA Facebook and LPGA Twitter featured stories, statistics, records and photo galleries from Tseng's 2011 season.
"It's pretty cool to say this is my day," Tseng said.