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Rookie relishes shot at the big time

There will be something of a generation game going on as far as the Scots are concerned in this week's US Women's Open at Pinehurst.

Catriona Matthew, the nation's standard bearer on the global stage, has seen it, done it and probably has a wardrobe full of t-shirts. This will be the 44-year-old's 18th appearance in the American showpiece.

For her young compatriot Kelsey MacDonald, the trip to North Carolina will mark the start of her Major adventure.

The Nairn rookie has been close to qualifying for the Women's British Open but her recent success in the 36-hole shoot-out for the US equivalent at The Buckinghamshire has finally given her a shot at the big time. MacDonald, the former Scottish Ladies' Amateur champion who is slowly finding her feet in the paid ranks, is relishing the prospect.

"I have twice missed out by a single shot to compete at the British Women's Open, but I believe that the longer you wait for something, the sweeter it is when you achieve it," said the 23-year-old.

Matthew, meanwhile, remains as competitive as ever. She posted two top-10s in the Majors last season, including a runners-up finish in the LPGA Championship, and having finished in a share of 11th in the opening Major of this season, the Kraft Nabisco Championship, the 2009 Women's British Open champion will be expected to be involved at the sharp end again this week.

With a stellar cast list, including the likes of Lexi Thompson, Stacy Lewis, Suzann Pettersen, Michelle Wie, Lydia Ko, Paula Creamer and defending champion Inbee Park, the tournament should be an intriguing, keenly-fought affair. The appearance of the 11-year-old qualifier Lucy Li will add a further layer of curiosity to proceedings.

So, too, should the setting. For the first time, the US Women's Open is being played immediately after, and on the same course, as the men's championship. Let's hope the blokes don't leave too many divots.

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