European Solheim Cup captain and Major champion Catriona Matthew has confirmed she will compete in next month’s ISPS HANDA. Golf as a stellar field continues to gather for one of the most exciting events of the year.
Matthew is one of the most recognised women professionals in this part of the world. The 49-year-old has won events worldwide, including her greatest hour in 2009 when she secured the Women’s British Open at Royal Lytham & St Annes. She became the first player from Scotland to win a women’s Major.
The Scottish golfer has been one of the standard bearers in Europe for a number of decades and has enjoyed success competing on the main Ladies European Tour (LET) and LPGA Tour in the States. The 2019 Solheim Cup captain will be one of the major draws when she tees it up in the World Invitational at Galgorm Spa & Golf Resort and Massereeene Golf Club from August 14-18.
“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, especially after I announce my European Solheim Cup team the day before,” said Matthew, who will take on the Americans at Gleneagles in her home country in 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 Massereeene 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 2011 Solheim Cup team that defeated the Americans at Killeen Castle in County Meath. She played a starring role and was undefeated for the week with two wins and two halved matches. Matthew has played in nine Solheim Cups and been on the winning side three times.
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 over the years 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 European Challenge Tour for almost a decade.”
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 event.
“We are absolutely thrilled Catriona will play in the World Invitational. When it comes to household names in the women’s game, there are few bigger than a Major champion and current Solheim Cup captain,” enthused Niall Horan, Modest! Golf founder and Presenting Sponsor of the innovative new event.
“Catriona is one of the stars of the women’s game. She has achieved so much and has also given back to the game and it is entirely fitting she will captain the European Solheim Cup team in her home country.
“As Presenting Sponsors of the World Invitational, we are delighted Catriona will be part of this wonderful week for Irish golf where so many great players from both the men’s and women’s games will be on show,” added Horan.
Other high-profile 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.
High flying Skarpnord is currently third in the standings and pushing for a Solheim Cup place to take on the Americans at Gleneagles in Scotland in September. Skarpnord won the Ladies Classic – Bonville and has a number of top 10s this season. The 33-year-old is also partner to European Tour winner Richard Green from Australia and the pair are both in line to compete in the World Invitational.
In a historic year for golf Ireland with The Open set to take place at Royal Portrush next week, the World Invitational just weeks later will be a unique opportunity to witness some of the best men and women players. It’s a truly innovative format, which is pioneering the way for the future of professional golf in Europe.
Munich. In the world of golf, the third and penultimate round is often referred to as “Moving Day”, as the players strive to make progress up the leaderboard and play their way into contention ahead of Sunday’s final round. While Englishmen Jordan Smith (-13) and Matt Fitzpatrick (-12, T2), and Austrian Matthias Schwab (AUT, -12, T2) enjoyed a particularly successful day in this regard, Martin Kaymer found himself heading in the other direction. However, despite being five shots off the lead, Germany’s top golfer has still not given up hope of a second BMW International Open title.
Kaymer had to wait until the 16th hole for his first and only birdie in a round of 75 that saw him drop back to eleventh place. Whilst a five-shot deficit is by no means insurmountable on the final day, the two-time major winner will have to putt as well on Sunday as he did in the opening two rounds.
“I played similarly to the first two days, but the putts simply didn’t drop. You get days like that in golf. You have to stay calm and try not to play your way out of the tournament,” said the 34-year-old. “I am only five shots off the lead, so it is not an absolute nightmare. If I have a similar day tomorrow to the first two rounds then I might be able to make those ahead of me a little bit nervous.”
Smith (-6 for the round), Fitzpatrick and Schwab (-7) demonstrated emphatically what is possible on any given day. With the wind stronger than on the previous days, and the greens softer and therefore easier following the rain, the trio hit birdie after birdie to move to the top of the leaderboard.
“I have driven very well this week and hardly missed a fairway. That is the key when the greens are as hard as they were for the first two rounds. Today, the greens were very soft, which meant that you could attack them,” said Smith. “I really had my game under control today and feel right at home here in Germany.”
Like Kaymer, defending champion Matt Wallace (ENG, -11, T4) and Lee Westwood (ENG, -10, T6), the 2003 BMW International Open winner, are still in with a chance of winning their second title at Germany’s most iconic tournament.
With the exception of BMW Friend of the Brand Max Kieffer (-6), who climbed into a tie for 19th place, the remaining Germans who made the cut were unable to make up any ground on Saturday. Like Kaymer, Max Schmitt (-5, T24), Dominic Foos (-2, T46) and Marcel Schneider (even par, T60) will be hoping for a better Sunday.