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August 4, 2009

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Matthew gives a boost to golfing mothers with British Open title

CATRIONA Matthew gave golfing mothers everywhere a massive boost with her 3-stroke victory on Sunday in the Women's British Open at Royal Lytham in Mytham St Annes, England.

Playing just 10 weeks after giving birth to her second child, Matthew held on to her overnight lead with a 1-over 71 in the final round. She finished with a 3-under total of 285.

The 39-year-old Scot said she was not planning to have any more children.

"Maybe I should have started sooner," she said.

Matthew was in labor for four hours, a much faster process than for her first child, and as a result coming back to the game was easier.

She felt her victory was terrific news for women with two children.

"Well 39, it sounds old, but I don't feel that old. Hopefully I've still for a few more years in me," Matthew said. "I feel as if I'm playing as well as I've ever played."

Both her children, and her husband who caddied for her, were with her this week.

"I think the difficult time will be when they start school and we'll reassess what we do then," she said. "But this has certainly spurred me on to play for at least another few years."

Matthew said she started nervously on the first nine on Sunday and hoped for better than a bogey on the first hole and two pars on the 6th and 7th.

But a bogey at 10 was followed by three successive birdies from the 13th, the first two on putts of 18 and 40 feet.

"When the one at 14 went in, I really thought 'this is mine for the taking now. I'm never going to have a better chance,'" she said.

Then when she hit a good drive down fairway on the last hole, "I felt that even I should be able to win it now."

Karrie Webb of Australia took second place with 288 after a closing 68 that gave her hope for a while.

The group of four sharing third place on 289 included Paula Creamer (71), Han Hee-won (70), Ai Miyazato (73) and Christina Kim (74).

Defending champion Shin Ji-yai never threatened in the final round and a double bogey at the last hole left her with a 75 and a share of eighth place.

Miyazato actually caught Matthew at the 12th hole, but blew herself out with a bogey then a double bogey six at the 17th.

"I am really disappointed about the 17th," said the diminutive Japanese, who won last week's Evian Masters before coming here.

"I hit my tee shot into the bunker on the left. I knew I had to make par but I got too aggressive and made double bogey. I regret that," she said. "But overall I'm really happy with third place after winning Evian Masters. It means winning a major is even closer."

Shin did not mount the challenge expected after her 68 on Saturday.


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