You could forgive Kylie Walker if she felt a tad intimidated by the golfing exploits of Catriona Matthew.

As a member of the next generation of Scottish female players, the 25-year-old from Glasgow appreciates that she, and the rest of her up-and-coming compatriots, have some sizeable shoes to fill.

At 42, Matthew, the multiple tour winner and Women's British Open champion of 2009, remains the flag-bearer on the global stage and Walker knows all about the North Berwick stalwart's abundant qualities.

Last season, in her own back yard of East Lothian, Matthew delivered a master class by winning the Aber- deen Asset Management Ladies Scottish Open by 10 shots at Archer- field Links. Amid that triumphant procession, Walker was quietly making her own mark. Admit- tedly, the former Scottish women's amateur No 1 finished 13 shots behind Matthew but an impressive share of fifth helped kick-start her campaign and she went on to post an eighth and a fourth in the two events that followed in Austria and the Czech Republic.

This week, Walker will be hoping for another happy homecoming at Archerfield as she joins the all-conquering Matthew in a 70-strong field of pros. Intimidated? Not one bit. Walker is simply inspired.

"This is our first event in Europe this year and it's a great chance to get going on home soil," said Walker, who has already been to Australia and New Zealand on tour duty this season and claimed a 15th-place finish in the Australian Masters.

"What Catriona did last year was amazing," Walker said. "Looking back I could have felt a bit down by the fact that I finished so far behind her but I was more proud because of what she had achieved. It showed Scottish women's golf off in a great light. We all know the standards that she has set and playing alongside her allows me to compare myself to her and shows me what I need to do to reach that level. That drives me on and it can only do me good."

Boosted by her recent inclusion in Team Scottish Hydro, a support programme that will pay for all her tournament related expenses during the year, Walker can now approach the rest of the campaign without any financial concerns. The focus is purely on the golf.

"That is a huge benefit as I try to go forward," said Walker, who is now in her third season on the Ladies European circuit. "I had a top-10 in 2010, then two top-fives last year. It's been stepping stones, and this year is about more improvement again."

Getting her hands on a decent chunk of the £183,000 prize fund on offer at Archerfield will be the priority in the week ahead but Walker will face stern competition from one of the strongest fields assembled since the pro-am event was re-introduced to the schedule four years ago. Matthew, of course, will be the one to beat and the defending champion will tee-off in decent fettle having claimed a share of 15th in her last competitive outing at the Kraft Nabisco Championship, the first Major on the women's calendar.

Glasgow's Janice Moodie, a two-time winner on the LPGA Tour and a past Solheim Cup team-mate of Matthew, has returned from the US to compete, while Carly Booth, fresh from her first professional victory on the Ladies European Tour's Access Series a fortnight ago, forms part of the Scottish posse that also includes Vikki Laing, Lynn Kenny, Gemma Webster and Heather MacRae.