Tough Scottish Open field for Catriona Matthew

Catriona Matthew will play with Tiger Woods' niece
Catriona Matthew will play with Tiger Woods' niece
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Lothians star Catriona Matthew will launch her bid for a third Ladies Scottish Open title in five years in the company of Tiger Woods’ niece

Matthew, the 2011 and 2013 winner, has been paired with Cheyenne Woods in the opening two rounds in the Aberdeen Asset Management event, which starts tomorrow at a new home.

After being held at Archerfield Links, close to Matthew’s home in North Berwick, it’s moved to Dundonald Links on the Ayrshire coast.

The event also has a new slot on the schedule, giving some of the world’s top players a chance to get in some links practice ahead of next week’s Women’s British Open at Turnberry.

Teenage Kiwi sensation Lydia Ko, the world No 2, and seventh-ranked Suzann Pettersen from Norway have grabbed that opportunity.

So, too, has English 19-year-old Charley Hull, another of the bright young stars in women’s golf.

It has left Matthew, the long-time Scottish No 1, with a tougher task on her hands this time around but it’s a challenge she is relishing.

“An Aberdeen Asset Management Ladies Scottish Open hat-trick would be a huge achievement for me,” said the 2009 Women’s British Open winner.

“There are some strong contenders this year and whoever wins it will have to be at the top of their game.”

The £360,000 event is the third leg of a feast of links golf after the Scottish Open at Gullane and The Open at St Andrews.

It concludes with the aforementioned women’s major a few miles down the coast from this week’s event.

“In what is a big month for Scottish golf, the international field that is assembled here will really help in continuing to showcase ladies golf to a global audience,” added Matthew.

Musselburgh’s Vikki Laing is also in the field for an event that has a pro-am format throughout the 54 holes.

According to Pettersen, Scottish golf fans should be flocking to Ayrshire to get a glimpse of Ko.

“She’s a great asset to women’s golf and has been fantastic for women’s golf over the past couple of seasons,” said the European Solheim Cup star.

“She’s a young star, one of many actually. What she has achieved is quite outstanding.

“Seeing her here is just like another week as I’m used to seeing her, but it’s great for the tournament and the rest of the field.

“I’ve never played in a Pro-Am format throughout a tournament ... hopefully I get a good hacker.”