It was a super Sunday all right and, at the end of it, a glass was being raised to two of Scotland's most decorated golfers as they served up a double Scotch.
While Colin Montgomerie ambled to his first win among the golden oldies at Woburn, the dependable Catriona Matthew coasted over the line in the Aberdeen Asset Management Ladies Scottish Open at Archerfield Links to claim the title for the second time in three years and notch her 11th professional victory. She may struggle to get a word in when she meets a jubilant Monty today, mind you. "We're doing a corporate day in Norway so at least we'll both be in a good mood," she grinned.
Matthew had plenty of reasons to smile. Her two-under 70 in the fiercely challenging conditions gave her an eight-under aggregate of 208 and a two-stroke win over the fast-finishing Hannah Burke, who raced home with a 68. A fortnight after team glory with Europe in the Solheim Cup, North Berwick-based Matthew was celebrating success on her own doorstep. "Any win feels great and this is just as special as my first Scottish win two years ago," said Matthew, reflecting on that 10-shot romp in 2011.
It was Ol' Blue Eyes himself who warbled about September and how "one day you turn around and it's summer, next day you turn around and it's fall". You can say that again Frank. The first day of the month was the final day of the Scottish showpiece and autumn had arrived with a bang in East Lothian. With a sky as dark as a crow's armpit and a strong, cold wind that would have stripped the paint off the Forth Rail Bridge, Archerfield Links was only for the hardy. Those eager observers on the sidelines had come to see the only show in town. Three ahead overnight, they came expecting a procession and it looked like it would turn into a carefree victory march as Matthew birdied the second and sixth to move six strokes clear of the field. As the wind blew the rest of her rivals off course, Burke emerged as the only threat and, when she holed a 15-footer for eagle on the 11th, the Englishwoman was, briefly, just two shots behind. Matthew responded, however, and trundled in raking birdie putts of 30 feet at the 14th and 15th to keep Burke at bay. Even a three-putt double bogey on the 16th had little impact - "it was a bit silly really" - and Matthew, as composed as ever, finished with two solid pars to put the tin lid on another commanding display. "I was probably expected to win before the event and even more so with a three-shot lead," said the world No.10, who moves on to the final major of the women's season, the Evian Championship next week, in purposeful mood. "That does add pressure but I played very well. It was very tough but I think I missed just two greens, and the two putts at 14 and 15 obviously helped."
Carly Booth may have relinquished the crown she won last year but the home comforts of Scotland proved to be, well, comforting. Her 2013 campaign has been one of frustration and missed cuts but a share of fourth in her native land has lifted morale. The 21-year-old signed off with a third successive one-over 73 for a three-over 219 as she claimed her best result of a trying season. "I've been hitting it well in practice but nothing has been going for me when I get to the events," said Booth. "Three one-over rounds in pretty tough conditions is very pleasing though. I just need to keep plodding along. Hopefully I can [win] again before the end of the year."
There were encouraging signs, too, for Booth's compatriot, Pamela Pretswell, as she also ended up on the three-over mark to secure the best finish of her rookie season on the main circuit and take a major step towards safeguarding her tour card. Despite a double-bogey seven on the sixth, the former Curtis Cup player kept her composure in the buffeting and closed with a battling one-over 73.
On a good day for the Scottish contingent, Heather MacRae crept up 38 places with a spirited two-under 70 - one of only six sub-par rounds of a punishing day - to earn a tie for sixth on a four-over 220. Having crumbled to an 80 during Saturday's second round, MacRae's salvage operation in the toughest of conditions was mightily impressive. But not as impressive as Matthew's win, of course.