Catriona Matthew is hoping a putter she’s “pinched” from one of her daughters can help her get in the mix for a third Aberdeen Standard Investments Ladies Scottish Open title triumph.
The North Berwick woman will lead the home challenge when the event is held for the first time at The Renaissance Club in East Lothian on August 8-11.
Matthew first claimed the crown when she recorded a stunning ten-shot victory at neighbouring Archerfield Links in 2011 and regained it two years later at the same venue.
Having slipped down the world rankings over the past year or so, it will be a tall order for the 49-year-old to claim that hat-trick in a field set to include title holder Ariya Jutanugarn.
But, speaking at a media event to promote the tournament on Scotland’s Golf Coast, Matthew said she had been encouraged by her putting as she played at Kingsbarns Links in a VisitScotland event earlier this week. “My putting has been pretty awful, so I went with Sophie (age ten) my youngest daughter’s putter,” she revealed. “She wasn’t too thrilled about that. In fact, she wasn’t happy.
“It’s a shorter one – I think it is just over 30 inches -–and it seemed to work. I holed quite a few putts on Monday.”
The Solheim Cup captain said she’d decided to try something different after watching the recent men’s US PGA Championship at Bethpage Black.
“I had been watching the PGA, when the guys are using putters that are probably 34 or 35 inches,” she added.
“I was putting with a 33-inch putter, but most of them are six or seven inches taller than me, so I thought I may be needed to go shorter. They just looked a lot more relaxed over the ball than me.”
Asked how many putters she’d accrued during her career, Matthew admitted: “Bagfuls. But Sophie’s is the only one that short.”
The Renaissance Club will be a new venue for the majority of players taking part in both the men’s and women’s Scottish Opens as it follows Dundonald Links and Gullane in staging the double-header.
“It will be challenging,” said Matthew, who, like fellow North Berwick resident Grant Forrest in the men’s event, will be aiming to put past experience of the Tom Doak-designed course to good effect.
“The first time I played it, it was quite wet so it played pretty long. Obviously, if we have a dry summer it will play shorter. The greens are challenging, very undulating, so if the wind blows it will be a tough test on the greens.
“It’s fairly open off the tee. The real test comes in getting your second shots in the right places.”
■ Fans can buy tickets – including official Aberdeen Standard Investments Scottish Open hospitality packages – at www.asiscottishopen.com