Ai Myazato takes Evian as Catriona Matthew falls back

Scotland's Catriona Matthew was in the top 12 at halfway, but weekend rounds of 73 and 74 saw her slip back as Japan's Ai Miyazato clinched her second Evian Masters in three years with a closing 70 in France yesterday.

Miyazato, who admits it has been tough to concentrate this season following her country's earthquake disaster in March, closed with a 70 for 15-under-par and won the 300,000 first prize by two shots from American Stacy Lewis, who also shot 70.

For Matthew, a top ten on her debut way back in 1998 remains her best result at Evian, but she could still take heart from a solid effort before heading home for the Ricoh Women's British Open starting at Carnoustie on Thursday. She finished on two-under- and in a share of 36th place

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"It will be very different conditions this week," said the North Berwick 41-year-old, who won the British Open at Lytham two years ago. "I'm really looking forward to Carnoustie. I played there around ten weeks ago and I know it is going to be in great shape. The weather forecast seems to be quite good, but we'll just have to wait and see."

Miyazato, ranked No 1 in the world for a spell last year, will be another strong contender at the final major of the season. "I love links golf," said the 26-year-old. "I'm already looking forward to it."

Miyazato joined Sweden's Annika Sorenstam and England's Laura Davies as a two-time Evian winner - Swede Helen Alfredsson is the only player to have won the title three times.

It was her seventh win on the LPGA Tour, but the first since the Safeway Classic last August. "The earthquake did affect me badly and it made it hard to concentrate on golf," admitted the player who went to school in Sendai, a city badly hit by the disaster. She has already helped raise thousands of pounds for the disaster fund.

Norway's Suzann Pettersen was another whose thoughts strayed from the course yesterday and she wore a black armband in recognition of the Friday massacre in her home city of Oslo. But she still managed a final-day 68 and was the top European in a tie for sixth place on 11-under-par.

The weekend withdrawal of South Korean Shy Hyun Ahn due to illness from the exempt field for Carnoustie means that there are now 18 places plus four reserve spots up for grabs in today's 18-hole final qualifying competition at Panmure. The field includes six Scots - Clare Queen, Vikki Laing, Carly Booth and Kylie Walker as well as amateurs Kelsey MacDonald and Gemma Dryburgh.