Lothians duo Matthew and Laing in the hunt at Scottish Open

Catriona Matthew shot a first-round 71
Catriona Matthew shot a first-round 71
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Catriona Matthew and Vikki Laing were flying the flag for the Lothians after the first round of the Aberdeen Asset management Scottish Ladies’ Open at Dundonald Links.

Laing was alongside fellow Scot Pamela Pretswell at three behind leader Gwladys Nocera on 70, with Matthew, the 2011 and 2013 Champion at Archerfield, set for a weekend surge on 71.

French star Nocera captured the 2008 title at Loch Lomond and, after her six-birdie 67, she admitted she quite enjoyed the far-from-summery weather.

“It was cold, rainy and windy – real Scottish weather,” said the 41-year-old, who is another heading for the Olympics in Rio.

“I love playing in the wind so it should be good fun over the weekend.

“I’m also thrilled to be going to the Olympics. I’m going to stop playing fairly soon and it is a once in a lifetime opportunity. It will be such an honour to play for my country.”

Matthew was disappointed to drop shots at two of the long holes, but was delighted to hole a 30-foot birdie putt at her final hole.

“It was solid enough but I didn’t take advantage at most of the par fives,” sighed the 47-year-old. “But it is always nice to be under par after the first round.”

For Laing, a top prize would come as a welcome relief. She has been forced to take a part-time job in a Portobello pub – the Forresters – to pay for her golf.

“It’s the first time I’ve had to do it,” said the Musselburgh 35-year-old.

“I work three days a week, morning and evenings. I practise my golf in the afternoons.”