MUSSELBURGH golfer Vikki Laing is hoping she can become the latest home heroine in the Aberdeen Asset Management Ladies’ Scottish Open.
Archerfield Links, venue for the event starting on Friday, has been a happy hunting ground for Scottish players over the past two years.
In 2011, North Berwick’s Catriona Matthew produced a masterclass as she recorded a runaway ten-shot victory in her native East Lothian. And the home supporters were cheering again last year as Comrie’s Carly Booth chalked up her maiden win on the Ladies European Tour.
Now Laing, pictured below and back playing better again after losing her card at the end of last season, is hoping it will be her turn in the limelight on Scottish soil this weekend.
“I really like this event as we are playing on a good course and it also allows me to stay at home,” said the 32-year-old. “I am sure there will be one or two people out watching me later in the week and over the weekend.
“Archerfield has become a nice home for the Ladies Scottish Open. It’s a great golf course with really good facilities. The format (a pro-am throughout) is certainly different to what we are used to.”
A four-time Scottish Girls’ champion and former Curtis Cup player, Laing turned professional just over a decade ago, but is still waiting for her first LET triumph. She finished tenth on the money-list in 2010 after posting five top tens, two of which were runner-up positions.
But, after slipping to 121st last season, it meant she had to rely on an invitation to secure a spot in the limited field of 70 for this week’s event. My season so far has gone better than last year, when I had a couple of niggling injuries,” added Laing, who finished runner-up in the NCAA Regional Championship during her stint at the University of California-Berkeley.
“Due to this week being a limited field, I had to rely on an invite, but where I’m sitting at the moment (67th) will be good enough to regain my card for next season.
“It’s good to get my chance this week, especially so close to home. I feel that I can definitely have a chance of winning if my game clicks.”
The event is the first to be held on the LET in the wake of Europe’s record Solheim Cup win in Denver, where Matthew, on her seventh appearance in the match, clinched the victory as she fought back for a half in her singles against Gerina Piller. “Catriona has been magnificent for Scottish golf and women’s golf in general,” noted Laing of her fellow East Lothian native. “She’s always been so approachable.
“I had the pleasure of playing alongside her in the Nations Cup in Spain a few years ago and it was terrific.”
Disappointingly, Matthew is the only member of Liselotte Neumman’s team in the Archerfield line-up, a scenario Laing says is simply down to bigger rewards being up for grabs elsewhere this week.
While the prize fund for the Ladies Scottish Open is £190,000, the LPGA Tour’s Safeway Classic in Oregon has a whopping $1.3 million on offer.
Kelsey MacDonald, who won the Scottish Women’s Championship at Craigielaw in 2010, has also received an invitation this week, as have two other Scots playing on the LET Access Series, Heather MacRae and Katy McNicoll.