CATRIONA MATTHEW and Vikki Laing are both hoping some home comfort will bring them success in this week’s Aberdeen Asset Management Ladies’ Scottish Open in East Lothian.
It certainly worked for Matthew in last year’s event at Archerfield Links, where the North Berwick woman stormed to a ten-shot success. The Solheim Cup star said ahead of tomorrow’s first round: “Any time you defend a title it’s a great honour, so I’m really looking forward to doing that this week and, obviously, staying at home is also nice.
“It’s a little strange sometimes as well during a tournament when you’re at home but any time you’re not in a hotel it’s quite nice. There are more family and friends around, so that’s always nice, too.”
Matthew, who rarely gets the chance to play links golf competitively, is based at Archerfield Links and certainly made the most of local knowledge last August.
“It’s nice playing the links-style courses for a change,” added the 42-year-old. “Often in the States it’s all target golf and here it’s a different kind of golf. You have more run-up shots and you have to plot your way around the course a lot more depending on the wind, or whatever.
“The course can change so quickly as one day it’s into the wind and one day it’s down-wind, so it’s different every time you play it.”
Matthew’s own game rarely seems to be different and the former British Women’s Open champion is defending this title on the back of two top-15 finishes in the Kia Classic and Kraft Nabisco Championship.
“I feel I’m playing pretty well,” she said. “I played well in Thailand and Singapore and then a couple of good weeks at La Costa and the Kraft Nabisco.”
Musselburgh’s Laing, meanwhile, received a timely boost heading into the event after she was named along with Kylie Walker in this year’s Team Scottish Hydro line-up.
They are the first women to receive the vital funding and it means Laing can now go into the campaign with a heavy burden lifted from her shoulders.
With this week’s event, presented by EventScotland, being played in a unique 54-hole format, the pros will once again compete alongside an amateur field.
It has been increased this year to 70 and includes a number of celebrities such as cricket stars Michael Vaughan and Darren Gough as well as Strictly Come Dancing’s Brendan Cole.
“It’s good to have a different format every so often,” said Matthew. “It’s quite special that the sponsors and their guests get to play more than just the normal pro-am.
“Having a few celebrities, too, is another great aspect of the tournament.”
Entry to the event is free and public car parking is available.