UGA's Matthews Wins Canadian Amateur Title

SQUAMISH, British Columbia ‹ For Laura Matthews, the fifth time was the charm.

Matthews, the assistant coach for the Georgia women's golf team, won Canada's Royale Cup National Women's Amateur Golf Championship on Friday after finishing as the event's runner-up four times in the last eight years.

³Finally. It¹s been a long time coming,² Matthews, a native of Essex, Ontario, said. ³I wanted this really bad. It¹s just a wonderful feeling knowing you¹ve accomplished something you¹ve really wanted for a long time.²

Matthews cruised through the closing round, carding a 1-under 72 to give her a four-day total of 2-under 290. Her 72 was the low round of the day on Friday as she recorded her first Canadian national title. She defeated Violeta Retamoza by six shots.

³This course was set up really well for my game,² Matthews said. ³You had to drive it straight and keep the ball in play, I did that all week. I knew (Thursday) it was mine to take. If I played a solid round with lots of pars, it was there. I felt good today.²

With the win, Matthews avoids the distinction of joining Mary Gay as the only Canadian with most runner-up finishes ever without wining a Canadian title. Gay finished second a record five times.Matthews, who was a four-time All-SEC performer and a member of Georgia's 2001 NCAA championship team as the former Laura Henderson, had finished as runner-up at the Canadian Amateur in 1998, 1999, 2000 and 2003.

She retained her amateur status after graduating from Georgia and has continued to enjoy impressive results. Most notably, she represented Canada at the 1999 and 2003 Commonwealth Games and the 2000, 2002 and 2004 World Team Amateur Championships. Last fall, Henderson tied for fourth individually at the World Team Amateur and led Canada for a tie with the United States for second place in the team field.

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