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Matthew Cruises Home in Lorena Ochoa Invitational
Catriona Matthew of Scotland extended her three-stroke lead Sunday in the Lorena Ochoa Invitational, posting a 1-under 71 for a four-shot victory in the 72-hole, $1 million LPGA Tour event.
After firing four birdies on the front nine at Guadalajara Country Club in Mexico, the 42-year-old Scot held on despite three bogeys on the inward half to finish at 12-under 276, four strokes clear of defending champion I.K. Kim of South Korea and Sweden's Anna Nordqvist, who both had 71s Sunday.
The win, Matthew's fourth on the LPGA Tour and first since the 2009 Women's British Open, was worth $200,000.
"I'm absolutely delighted," said the mother of two. "I don't think it's quite sunk in yet. I got off to a good start and hung in there. I'm so exhausted at the moment, but I'm sure I will pick up after a margarita."
Matthew pulled off the runaway victory despite playing against one of the top fields of the season. "This is where all the best players in the world play and to win in such a limited field with all the top players playing, it's such a boost of confidence," she said.
"And even though it's tough being out here now, I have two children at home, so I feel like I've got to be playing well to justify myself being out here and not being at home with them more, so it's a bonus Christmas present now."
Kim was one of the observers impressed with Matthew's steady play. "She played awesome, you know," Kim said. "We didn't really get any closer to her, so I don't think she got much you know, any bit nervous or pressure. I think she had her own kind of momentum going, so I'm very happy for her. It was nice for her. What can I say? I was in contention and I got to watch Catriona play, and I've learned a lot today."
Matthew admitted later that starting the final round with a three-shot cushion wasn't all that calming. "I think in a way it's just that much more difficult when you've got such a big lead," Matthew said. "I didn't know whether to keep trying to go for birdies or just play for pars and see if they make birdies, and in the end I kind of did neither and just kind of messed up a couple of holes there, but luckily I had a big lead.
"In a way it's more difficult when you've got a big lead because you know it heats up at the turn and if you lose that, it's not very good, so it's more pressure."
Matthew also paid homage to the tournament hostess, who's expecting her first child in December. "Lorena is doing such good work with her foundation," Matthew said. "You come and you think I'm not doing enough when you see all the things she does, so to have won her tournament is a special moment for me."
Tied for fourth at 283, seven shots behind the winner were South Korean Hee Kyung Seo (69), Japan's Ai Miyazato (71) and American Juli Inkster, who finished with an even-par 72.
The 51-year-old Inkster, a member of the LPGA Hall of Fame, had a share of the lead through the first two rounds and was seeking to become the oldest winner in LPGA history. Beth Daniel was 46 when she won the 2003 Canadian Women's Open. But Inkster wasn't able to recover from a 75 Saturday.
Michelle Wie, who notched her first-ever LPGA title in this event in 2009, closed with a 71 and ended up tied for ninth at 2-under 286.
Women golf's top-rated player and the LPGA's 2011 Player of the Year, Yani Tseng, had a 72 to finish at 3-over 291 and tied for 19th in the 36-player field.
For all the scores, visit http://www.lpgascoring.com/public/leaderboard.aspx?TournamentID=27847.