Catriona Matthew put in a solid performance in the first women’s major of the year, but a disappointing final round 76 meant she had to settle for a share for 11th place at the Kraft Nabisco Championship.
Matthew had started the day four shots behind joint leaders Lexi Thompson and Michelle Wie, but never managed to get going in the final round at Mission Hills Country Club in California, as American youngster Thompson went on to claim her first major title.
“It doesn’t change who I am. I mean, it obviously changes my confidence going into each event, but I’m still going to practice and work on improving stuff in my game that needs to be improved.” - 2014 champion Lexi Thompson
The 19-year-old became the second-youngest women’s major winner to date after carding a bogey-free 68 at Mission Hills Country Club in California.
“It’s a great feeling,” said Thompson. “This is what I’ve worked so hard for. This was one of my goals coming into the year, to win a major. I’ve always seen myself winning a Kraft Nabisco. It’s such a huge honour with all the history behind the tournament. It’s just a dream come true.”
With the victory, Thompson has already fulfilled her early promise that was shown from the age of just 12, when she played in her first major. That was in the 2007 U.S. Women’s Open, and since then, the American has continued to push on. She came close to a win at the Evian Championship last year, finishing in third place, and that experience stood her in good stead to take the first major of 2014 after holding the overnight lead heading into the final day’s play.
She added: “I think winning this tournament just overall has helped out my confidence a lot. I’ve always imagined myself winning this tournament and how I would win it, but it’s a dream come true.
“It doesn’t change who I am. I mean, it obviously changes my confidence going into each event, but I’m still going to practice and work on improving stuff in my game that needs to be improved.”
Wie happy with signs of major improvement
Thompson’s partner in the final group was Michelle Wie, who shot a final round 71 to finish in second place, her best finish in a major championship.
“You know, it was a lot of fun playing in contention, being in the final group,” said Wie. “It was nice to be in the final group at the Kraft again. I think it’s a sign. I think I’m getting close. I think I can get a lot of confidence from this week.
“I think I’m improving and improving, and I think getting second at a major, I think it means that I’m close, and I’m really proud of myself, and I’m really excited for the upcoming events.”