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Ladies Scottish Open: Matthew the woman to beat

The Cat is on the prowl.

Catriona Matthew is finding her form at just the right time    Photograph: Getty
Catriona Matthew is finding her form at just the right time Photograph: Getty

"I believe I'm very close to being really good," Catriona Matthew said ahead of her defence of the Aberdeen Asset Management Ladies Scottish Open title at Archerfield Links on the outskirts of Gullane this week. The rest have been warned.

A return to the old haunts of her East Lothian home always stirs the senses and rouses the competitive spirits and the 44-year-old will be eager to capture a third Scottish Open title in her own back yard.

Matthew, who will celebrate her birthday tomorrow, is still seeking a first victory of 2014 but, as ever, Scotland's highest- ranked golfer on the global stage continues to knock on the door.

She has racked up two third- place finishes this season on the demanding LPGA Tour while her Major record for the campaign includes a tie for 11th at the Kraft Nabisco Championship and a share of 10th in the US Women's Open.

Matthew, pictured, will still be the woman to beat on Scottish turf although there will be a few of her younger compatriots hoping to make a robust assault on the domestic prize.

There will be plenty of focus on Glasgow's Kylie Walker, who has upped the ante over the past couple of months with a brace of victories on the women's European circuit, and Edinburgh's Sally Watson, who is in the hunt for the tour's rookie of the year prize after an impressive debut that has been illuminated with a third-place finish in the Slovak Open.

"It has been great to see Kylie start to break through," added Matthew, the former Women's British Open champion who has set the standards the rest have to follow. "She is starting to believe in herself a lot more and to be more patient on the golf course."

Pamela Pretswell is another Scot who is slowly finding her feet and having played in the leading group on the final day of the recent Sberbank Golf Masters in the Czech Republic, the former British Women's Open Amateur champion is keen to taste the high life again.

"It was a new experience for me but I felt I handled it pretty well," said Pretswell, who sits just outside the leading 40 on the tour's rankings. "Now I've kept my card again, hopefully I can push on over the remaining events of the season."

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