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Home Is Where The Cash Is
It will be an unusual experience for Catriona Matthew, Kathryn Marshall and Janice Moodie next week when they get the chance to compete for major money in front of their own Scottish supporters.

The inaugural £400,000 WPGA International Matchplay Tournament over the PGA Centenary course at Gleneagles promises to be one of the highlights of the season with 32 of the world's best competing for a £110,000 first prize.

And the home trio will add interest as they have all returned from the LPGA Tour in the US as genuine title contenders.

Matthew heads the list as the no 2 seed behind Sweden's Sophie Gustafson, while Moodie is at no 6 and
Marshall at no 14 in an event that is another symbol of Scotland's 2009 Ryder Cup bid.

For Matthew, there is the opportunity to add some icing to an already wonderful season, collect her second title at Gleneagles (she won the 1998 WPGA Championship of Europe) and provide further proof to fellow-Scot Dale Reid that it was nonsense that she was left out of last year's Solheim Cup team.

And Reid - who competes regularly in Europe - will also be in next week's line-up.

But since her rejection at Loch Lomond last year, Matthew, the 32-year-old from North Berwick has gone on to prove that she is the best in Britain.

With $675,00 - easily a Scottish record - she is lying at no 8 on the LPGA money list.

A win in the Hawaiian Ladies Open in February was the highlight, but it is an amazing steadiness which has helped Matthew stand out this season. She has had nine top tens, including a tie for third in the British Open, and a tie for fourth in the US Open.

"Consistency has been the big difference this year," she agreed.

"Also, winning early in the year was a huge confidence boost. I'd won in Australia and Scotland, but to make the breakthrough on the LPGA Tour was huge.

"All the world's best were in the field in Hawaii and I'd also wanted to prove that I could win in such company."

Matthew may be a shy and retiring personality, but she has no qualms about showing off with a golf club in her hands.

She proved her love of matchplay by winning three Scottish and one British Amateur Championships and by producing a superb record in three Curtis Cups.

"Next week will be great," she said. "I'm really looking forward to a matchplay event and Gleneagles is such a great setting.

Hopefully, the crowds will come out to support us and the fact that it is also on TV (BBC2 Scotland on the final Saturday and Sunday) is another boost."

As for Marshall, she has already a sneak preview of the PGA Centenary course on Friday, while she has a whole string of male friends lined up to provide some matchplay practice.

"It's so different from strokeplay," she explained. "I always find I putt much better in knock-out. This weekend. I'm going to be playing lots of guys over Carnoustie. That should really get me in the mood to tackle the girls next week."

Laura Davies, the no 4 seed, will be another star attraction, while eight of last year's winning Solheim Cup side are taking part, and the field also
includes one American, Laura Diaz, who was tied third in the British Open earlier this month.

But it will be the Scots that are the main focus of attention.

Moodie, who is playing in America this week, completes the trio, and is another proven matchplay expert.

In fact, she was joint top points scorer at last year's Solheim.

Of course, 18 holes can throw up any number of shocks. That's what helps make the format so interesting.

So who do you fancy putting your money on?

Seeds: 1, Sophie Gustafson (Sweden), 2, Catriona Matthew (Scotland), 3, Maria Hjorth (Sweden), 4, Laura Davies (England), 5, Laura Diaz (USA), 6, Janice Moodie (Scotland), 7, Carin Koch (Sweden), 8, Trish Johnson (England), 9, Suzann Pettersen (Norway), 10, Elisabeth Esterl (Germany), 11, Patricia Meunier Lebouc (France), 12, Catrin Nilsmark (Sweden), 13, Alison Nicholas (England), 14, Kathryn Marshall (Scotland), 15, Karine Icher (France), 16, Paula Marti (Spain)

Rest of field: Dale Reid (Scotland), Alison Munt (Australia), Lara Tadiotto (Belgium), Samantha Head, Johanna Head, Nicola Moult, Kirsty Taylor (all England), Marie Laure de Lorenzi, Sandrine Mendiburu (both France), Iben Tinning (Denmark), Sophie Sandolo, Giulia Sergas (both Italy), Cecilie Lundgren (Norway), Laurette Maritz (South Africa), Marina Arruti (Spain), Anna Berg (Sweden)



©    29 - AUGUST 2001

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