Belfast Telegraph

Matthew is relishing World Invitational mission


On way: Catriona Matthew up for Galgorm and Massereene
On way: Catriona Matthew up for Galgorm and Massereene

By Gareth Hanna and Adam McKendry

Scottish star Catriona Matthew, who won the 2009 Women's British Open at Royal Lytham & St Annes, has added her name to the field for next month's World Invitational at Galgorm Spa & Golf Resort and Massereene Golf Club.

Matthew, having played nine times in the matches, is the 2019 Solheim Cup captain and will actually name her European team the day before teeing it up in County Antrim.

The 49-year-old has won events worldwide and was the first player from Scotland to win a women's Major.

The 2019 Solheim Cup captain will be one of the major draws when she tees it up from August 14-18, when the men's and women's tournaments will be run simultaneously.

"It will be a great time for me to compete in the new ISPS HANDA World Invitational in August and for the chance to tee it up alongside the men," said Matthew, who will take on the Americans at Gleneagles in her home country between September 13-15.

"I have been playing tournament golf around the world all of my career and I am particularly looking forward to this new format at the World Invitational. This is a wonderful new concept and a first of its kind format in Europe.

"We have all seen how well the format has worked for the Vic Open in Australia and I am sure the World Invitational at Galgorm and Massereene will be a great success. It is also a great addition to the schedule for the women's game and for the chance to compete for equal prize money."

Matthew is no stranger to competing in Ireland and the North Berwick native has enjoyed much success on Irish shores. In 2011 she was part of the Solheim Cup team that defeated the Americans at Killeen Castle in County Meath.

A year later the Scot returned to the same venue, but this time to take care of business in her own right when she won the Ladies Irish Open, one of six LET titles.

"I have played many times in Ireland and I am very much looking forward to getting back to Northern Ireland. I know Galgorm has a great reputation for hosting the NI Open on the Challenge Tour for almost a decade," she said.

Matthew is one of many high-profile names entered to compete in the World Invitational where men and women will compete for equal prize money in the $500,000 (£401,000) event.

Other names recently entered include the likes of American Beth Allen and Norway's Marianne Skarpnord. Allen (37) has won three times in Europe and secured the LET Order of Merit in 2016.

l FORMER West of Ireland champion Robert Brazill was one of three golfers to top the qualifying leaderboard at the North of Ireland Amateur Open at Portstewart and Castlerock.

The Naas man shot back-to-back rounds of four under par to finish tied with Geoff Lenehan (Portmarnock) and overnight leader Allan Hill (Athenry) at the top of the standings.

The top 64 finishers qualified for the matchplay, which is held over the next three days at Portstewart, with the last-64 and last-32 ties played today.

Warrenpoint's Colm Campbell made the cut at six under, knowing that a semi-final appearance would take him to the top of the Bridgestone Order of Merit, while defending champion Ian Lynch (Rosslare) also got in at level par.

Meanwhile, at the ILGU Interprovincials in Mount Wolseley, there were mixed results for the Ulster teams as the Ladies got off to a winning start against Leinster, however the Girls' team lost to the same opponents.

Elsewhere, after the opening day's qualifying at the European Team Championships, Ireland's Men's team are tied first, the Boys lie eighth, the Ladies sit tied ninth and the Girls are 10th in their respective sections.

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