Golf: Top Scots looking to enjoy a little bit of home comfort

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Musselburgh’s Vikki Laing has good memories from last year’s Aberdeen Asset Ladies’ Scottish Open at Archerfield and she’s hoping the next three days in East Lothian will help kick-start her season.

This is the second staging of the 54-hole tournament at the Gullane venue, and Scottish No. 1 Catriona Matthew will be one of the main attractions when action tees off tomorrow.

The last time she played in the Scottish Open was at The Carrick, Loch Lomond, in 2007.

Laing was the best Scot in joint fifth 12 months ago, but the 30-year-old’s third year on the Ladies’ European Tour suffered a blow early in the campaign when she broke her driver on the practice range. But she reckons her game has been coming together in the last few weeks.

“The shaft broke and my driving started to become very wayward,” she said. “But I’ve now got a new one in the bag and I feel much happier.”

Laing, pictured below, had a super 2010 season and one of the highlights was the top-five finish at Archerfield. She also had two second places and ended the year ranked No. 8 on Tour.

But this season her best has been a tie for 23rd at the Ladies’ German Open and she is currently at No. 104 on the money list with less than £8,000 in earnings.

“It’s always nice to be playing at home in front of a home crowd and family and friends,” she continued. “I know the course well and I’m hoping to have a really good week.”

Matthew, by contrast, has had a great season and is aiming for her third successive top-ten finish. She was joint fifth in the Ricoh Women’s British Open and then joint sixth in the Ladies’ Irish Open two weeks ago.

“Archerfield is where I do a lot of my practising so it is like a home posting,” said the North Berwick golfer. “Because I travel so much I always love playing in the Scottish Open.”

Matthew is first off the tee tomorrow at 9.00am alongside another of the top Scots, Mhairi McKay.

Laing tees it up in the fourth final group at 11.10am in the company of Sweden’s Lotta Wahlin. The other Scots taking part are Lynn Kenny, Krystle Caithness, Carly Booth, Kylie Walker, Clare Queen, Gemma Webster and the former Gullane Assistant professional, Heather MacRae.

France’s Virginie Lagoutte-Clement defends the title – and she is one of the European players hoping to attract the attention of Solheim Cup Captain, Alison Nicholas. She tees off at 9.30am along with one of the top English hopes, Melissa Reid.

Reid has already assured herself of Solheim selection for the match against the US at Killeen Castle in Ireland from September 23-25.

Matthew, through her place at No. 36 on the Rolex World rankings, is also certain to be in the team – a record sixth appearance for a Scot.