Catriona Matthew from North Berwick fired rounds of 71, 67 and 70 to secure her second Aberdeen Asset Management Ladies Scottish Open title in three years at Archerfield Links in East Lothian 12 months ago. The local heroine held steady in winds gusting up to 30 miles per hour to post a three-round total of eight-under-par, finishing two strokes ahead of England’s Hannah Burke: the only other player under par. Here, Matthew, the seven-time Solheim Cup player, with 10 international tournament victories to her credit, including the 2009 Ricoh Women’s British Open, looks ahead to her title defence at Archerfield, where she is an honorary member.
What are your abiding memories from last year’s Aberdeen Asset Management Ladies Scottish Open?
That the last day was freezing cold and very windy!
How much have you and will you, practise and play at Archerfield Links leading up to your title defence?
I have not played much at Archerfield this year. I have played the odd 9 holes here and there and used the practice ground but not played a whole lot. I will probably play 9 holes on both Wednesday and Thursday next week.
How do you rate your current form?
I have been playing steadily. I believe I am very close to being really good.
How easy do you think it will be to retain the title and win it for the third time and what are you working on to ensure success?
Obviously these things are never easy! The tour has got much deeper these past few years. This year I see Laura Davies is playing and she has been playing a lot better these past few weeks. Also Sophie (Gustafson) and Trish (Johnson) have great experience plus all the other current year winners. Holly Clyburn is another that is doing well.
Who will act as your tournament caddie and why?
Graeme will caddy this year as he was on the bag last year.
How much do you enjoy playing in your country and at this golf club in particular?
I really enjoy playing both in Scotland and at Archerfield. I just hope the weather is good and that a lot of people come out and watch.
How much time do you spend in Scotland now as opposed to the States?
I spend more time in Scotland now and my schedule is limited to about 24 events a year, of which about 15 are in the US and the others are all over. Both the LPGA and LET are now global tours.
We understand that you are building a new house in North Berwick on the site of your old house. How involved have you become in that project?
Yes, we are currently in the process of trying to secure a builder. All the planning permissions are through which took a while! Getting a builder is proving trickier than we imagined as all the good ones are very busy!
How do you manage your time with two young daughters, competitions, practice and fitness?
It’s tough to balance and luckily I have Graeme at home to help. They have not been travelling with me much this past year and a half. My practice schedule on a non-tournament day is usually some kind of workout for about 45 minutes. I will then practice maybe for about 30 minutes then go play 9 holes, then do another hour or so practice after playing. Then I putt and chip for maybe an hour. I believe in quality practice rather than length. Do what you need to do then get out of there! I see far too many people being at the course all day and chattering on their phones thinking they are practising.
What do you think about the success of the Scottish players on the LET this season, particularly two-time winner Kylie Walker and rookie Sally Watson and what does this mean for the future?
It has been great to see Kylie start to break through. She is starting to believe in herself a lot more and be more patient on the golf course. Sally has done well too and has been consistent. She has been smart in that she has a good degree behind her from Stanford.
What are your goals for the rest of this season?
After this event I have Evian then another six events: four in Asia, one in Mexico and one in the US, so I would like to finish off the year strongly and snag a win. Then I will start out the year at Royal Melbourne in February 2015.
Next year is a Solheim Cup year. How important is it to be on the European team in Germany after the win in 2013?
Obviously I want to be part of the team that wins 3 in a row.
Do you see yourself as a future captain?
Absolutely. I would love to do be captain in the not too distant future.
What importance do you place on representing Great Britain at the 2016 Summer Olympic Games?
It is definitely something I want to be part of. It has kept me going these past few years and is a good goal. It is really the only event I have not competed in and I want to be part of it in 2016.