You just never know. If things had worked out differently, Gemma Dryburgh could have been displaying her jinks, jouks, birls and twirls in the Women’s World Cup.

Instead, the Aberdeen golfer is more than happy to be making her major championship debut in a very different ba’ game.

“Football was my main sport growing up and the World Cup was always a big dream,” reflected the 26-year-old from Aberdeen. “I went to the IMG Academy in Florida and really wanted to do both football and golf but I had to pick one.

“Golf took over. I really do miss football and wish I could still play but I don’t have any regrets now. I’ve got to the LPGA Tour.”

Finding your feet amid the abundant rigours of the professional golf scene can often feature the kind of shoogling and shaking you’d get with a new born calf on a frozen puddle.

Now in her second season on the premier circuit in the women’s game, Dryburgh is slowly establishing a foothold, however, and this week’s KPMG Women’s PGA Championship at Hazeltine is another step in her development.

Coming off the back of a solid run of form, which included a career-best eight-under 64 in the second round of the recent LPGA Classic, Dryburgh is relishing the move up to the major stage.

Carrying the saltire alongside her in Minneapolis this week will be the evergreen Catriona Matthew. Not for long, though.

Matthew’s decision to call time on her LPGA Tour career next month after 25 years of active service will leave Dryburgh as the lone Scot on the US-based circuit.

“It’s the end of an era for Scottish golf,” said Dryburgh as she mulled over Matthew’s glittering career as the standard bearer. “It’s quite sad really. We’ll miss having her here.

“The other week I actually got a few more Scottish fans following me than normal. They would usually have followed Catriona. It will be strange not having her out on tour but I’ll fly the flag as best I can.

“This is my first major. You can tell when you get on site that it’s that bit bigger. But I have to treat it like a normal event and not build it up too much.”

READ MORE: Matthew winds down but Solheim Cup gears up

While a low scoring burst bolstered Dryburgh’s confidence, a recent grouping with leading lights So Yeon Ryu, a double major winner, and former Women’s PGA champion, Danielle Kang, provided plenty of insight.

“That was good to see how my game fared against them and actually it didn’t feel too far way,” she said.

“Obviously, they have the consistency of performance that I don’t but I’m getting there. I’m now beginning to believe that I can actually compete with these girls. But everyone is so good every week. You can’t afford to have many off days.

“I shot two-under over the weekend recently and dropped about 20 spots. Even when you think you’re doing well you find yourself going backwards.”

It’s onwards and upwards, however, as far as Dryburgh is concerned. She’s looking homeward too. “Hopefully I’ll get back for the Ladies Scottish Open,” she said of the lucrative domestic showpiece in August. “I’m a bit distant out here and it would be nice for people to get to know my name a bit more. Some good results will help that.”

A decent showing on the major stage wouldn’t be a bad place to start.