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Golf: Catriona Matthew has had a notable year, even if it will not be recognised formally

Catriona Matthew gave a resigned sigh and despondently rolled her eyes so hard they must have ended up peering back inside her own head.

This can often be the reaction of folk when confronted by the golfing press but it was one obvious question which had prompted these actions of mild despair.

"It was a bit silly," came the simple response, as Matthew offered her swift opinion on the absence of women from the shortlist for the Sports Personality of the Year award. As one of Scottish sports most successful, yet shamefully undervalued performers, Matthew knows only too well how it feels when triumphs are not given their due credit. The 42-year-old is too mild-mannered to cause a song and dance about it, though. She will just keep ploughing on in her own, purposeful way.

The women's game may currently be in the stranglehold of five-time major champion Yani Tseng, who racked up 11 wins during the season, but the notable conquests of Matthew, almost twice the Taiwanese youngster's age, are worthy of equal praise.

A 10-shot victory in August's Aberdeen Ladies Scottish Open, in her own backyard of East Lothian, kick-started the year while a comprehensive four-stroke triumph over a world-class field in last month's Lorena Ochoa Invitational in Mexico – Tseng trudged in some 15 shots adrift – gave her the fourth LPGA Tour crown of her career and a ninth worldwide.

In between those individual successes, the mother-of-two once again revelled in the cut-and-thrust arena of team competition as Europe won the Solheim Cup for the first time in eight years at Killeen Castle. Her rampant 6 and 5 trouncing of Paula Creamer, in the top match of a fraught closing-day singles session, helped the hosts to a dramatic 15-13 victory, in a contest that turned around in the final three ties. On all fronts, it has been quite a season.

"I couldn't have asked for a better year," said the former Women's British Open champion, at the official announcement of her new sponsorship deal with the Lomond Audi Group. "Mexico was a bonus. It's getting tough to win on the LPGA Tour. Yani is getting as dominant as Annika [Sorenstam] and Lorena used to be. I think she can beat Annika's record [of 10 majors] so to win an event that she is playing in makes it that bit more special."

The season may be over for Matthew but the hard work is not. While the Scottish winter usually tempers any thoughts of heading on to the course – "I like coming back because the weather means I don't feel bad about not practising" – her efforts with her coach, Kevin Craggs, and fitness guru, Steve Paulding, continue to bear fruit.

"Kevin has made a huge difference," she added. "I've worked with him for the last two years and I think I'm now playing the best golf I've ever played. I'm swinging it better than ever, too. I changed my backswing a little. I used to be too quick and I couldn't set my wrists so I'm just trying to slow it down and get a better tempo. To me, it feels like big things we are changing but it tends to be little things."

With the competitive fires still burning brightly, Matthew's ambitions in the game remain undiminished. A victory in the current hotbed of the game, Asia, is a target for the new season while a seventh Solheim Cup appearance in 2013, when Europe will be aiming for a first win in the United States, is very much part of her future plans. The European captaincy can wait, for the time being. "I'd be keen to do it but I would like to play in another and a win in the States would be nice," said Matthew, with five wins from six singles jousts down the years. "It would be tough to top Killeen Castle. That last hour was just amazing. They thought they'd won but we snatched it."

The lassies may have been snubbed in the race for the personality prize but those Solheim Cup heroines have plenty of credentials for the team of the year gong. "Maybe we have a slight chance because of the flap about no ladies being nominated," concluded Matthew.

The recognition would be merited.

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