When LPGA veteran Catriona Matthew arrived in Des Moines, Iowa this week, her role was to serve as an alternate and vice captain for the European Solheim Cup team.
But when European Team sparkplug Suzann Pettersen was forced to withdraw from the event two days before the first shots were played, Matthew stepped in to replace the injured Norwegian.
“I was all set to be cheering them on and cheering from the sidelines,” said Matthew, a Legends Tour member and the most senior member of the European team. “But I stepped in and I had a good partner today.”
Not only did Matthew seamlessly move into the lineup for the Europeans, but she also paired with Karine Icher of France to win a point for her side against the American team of Stacy Lewis and Gerina Piller in the Friday Foursomes.
Matthew and Icher trailed through 12 holes in Friday morning’s opening matches at Des Moines Golf & Country Club, but they fought back and squared their match on the 14th hole. The Europeans took the lead on the 16th hole and closed out the match 1-up to end morning play on the first day of competition.
Making her ninth Solheim Cup appearance, Matthew brings experience to the 2017 European team as a member of three winning squads (2003, 2011 and 2013). She made the winning putt at the 2003 Solheim Cup at Barsebäck Golf and Country Club in Sweden and secured the half point to win the 2013 Solheim Cup outright for Europe’s first win abroad at Colorado Golf Club.
Representing Europe in Solheim Cup competition from 1998 to 2015, Matthew entered this week’s competition with 19 earned points for Europe in 33 matches.
But even with a deep history in this event, the quiet Scot admitted one thing never changes.
“I was shaking like a leaf on the first green, but I managed to hole a putt,” said Matthew, mother of two. “I don’t think it matters how many you’ve played in, you’re still nervous.”
And for Europe’s veteran team member, it also still feels good to put points on the board for her team.