The excitement of the men’s Olympic golf surpassed expectations of even the most enthusiastic golfing fans as Stenson and Rose went head to head on the 18th hole vying for Gold. The last few shots were close to call and even one of Olympic golf’s harshest critics, Rory McIlroy himself, admitted to tuning in to catch the action. With Justin Rose coming out on top for Team GB it was Stenson in second with a silver medal to match his Claret Jug and Matt Kuchar taking bronze home to the US after his final round was 8 under, giving him third position on the podium. This week we’ll still have our eyes firmly fixed on the Olympic Golf Course as the women take to the tee to battle it out for gold, silver and bronze.
The golfers competing for Team GB are Catriona Matthew MBE, who tees off in the second group of the morning at 6:41am and Charley Hull who will take to the tee from 10:09am alongside the World Number 1, and gold medal favourite, Lydia Ko of New Zealand. There hasn’t been an Olympic medal in the women’s game since 1900 and both golfers will be hoping to follow in their teammates footsteps and make it two gold golfing medals for Team GB.
Matthew is an Edinburgh local, just like us, and we’re naturally feeling very supportive! She has been a long standing fixture on both the LPGA and Ladies European Tour where she has played since 1994. Matthew has played on the European team in the Solheim Cup multiple times and had a stunning recent performance at the RICOH Women’s’ British Open where, in the second round, she hit all 18 greens in regulation, birdied 7 holes and had the lowest score with -65. Fresh from being awarded a lifetime achievement gong at this year’s Scottish Golf Awards and with the vice-captaincy for next year’s European team’s Solheim Cup campaign confirmed, Matthew is going into the Olympics with experience and talent on her side.
Matthew’s fellow Team GB competitor is Charley Hull, who has made a name for herself since turning professional in 2013 at only 17 years old. Now 20, Hull has achieved great success on the Ladies European Tour, finishing second-place for five consecutive years, and in the Solheim Cup where she was the youngest ever participant. The team, headed up by Liselotte Neumann, were the first European team to win in America where they scored 18-10, two of those courtesy of Hull. Hull was awarded Rookie of the Year honours for LET in 2013 and went on to win her first professional title the following year at the Lalla Meryem Cup in Morocco, polishing off 2014 by winning the Ladies Order of Merit.
Matthew and Hull will be taking on the Olympic Golf Course, just outside of Rio itself, on Wednesday the 17th of August and the sporting world will be hoping for just as good a showdown as we saw on Sunday. Considering all bar one of the top ten players in the Rolex Ranking will be in competition, compared to only four in the top ten of the Men’s Official World Golf Ranking, it is set to be strong game which reflects the value of the tournament within women’s golf where there are more points at stake.
Best of luck to all of the golfers, we’re certainly looking forward to another golf-filled weekend!