GRANT Forrest’s wry smile said it all when, in the wake of him falling at the final hurdle in the 120th Amateur Championship at Carnoustie, it was suggested he’d have a “chance to get some rest” following an energy-sapping week.
He will have enjoyed putting his feet up yesterday, no doubt, but catching his breath is all the 22 year old will get to do as big events continue to come thick and fast for Forrest.
This week, he is heading up to Aviemore for the SSE Scottish Hydro Challenge at Macdonald Spey Valley, where he will have three of his international team-mates – Jack McDonald, Daniel Young and Craig Ross – for company when the gun goes off there on Thursday.
It will be about experience for the quartet, with Forrest looking forward to the opportunity to build on what he learned from playing in the 2012 Johnnie Walker Championship at Gleneagles then the Open Championship at Muirfield the following year.
Once he is finished in the Highlands, the Craigielaw player will turn his attention to trying to play in this year’s Claret Jug joust, joining the scramble for spots at St Andrews in next week’s final qualifying at Glasgow Gailes. He would also have been trying to get into the Aberdeen Asset Management Scottish Open if it didn’t clash with one of the most important events on the amateur calendar. The European Team Championship takes place at Halmstad in Sweden at the same time as the star-studded tournament at Gullane, with Forrest’s selection for the Scandinavian sortie – he will be joined by Jack McDonald (Kilmarnock [Barassie]), Ewen Ferguson (Bearsden), Greig Marchbank (Thornhill), Graeme Robertson (Glenbervie) and Connor Syme (Drumoig) – having just been confirmed.
With all that on his plate, Forrest will have little chance to feel sorry for himself about missing out on the amateur game’s Holy Grail, that prize going instead to Romain Langasque after the 20-year-old Frenchman came out on top 4&2 in Saturday’s 36-hole title showdown. There was absolutely no denying that Langasque, who shares the same coach, Benoît Ducoulombier, with Victor Dubuisson, was a worthy winner as he played the better golf throughout the contest. At the same time, however, Forrest can move with his held high after a spirited display that had his opponent close to getting sweaty as a seven-hole lead was whittled down to three with four to play.
“It is disappointing not to win but it is good to see that I can compete at the highest level”Grant Forrest
“This week has been a great confidence boost,” admitted the Scot, who has surely cemented his place in the Great Britain & Ireland team for the Walker Cup at Royal Lytham in September. “It was just what I needed as my confidence had been low. It is disappointing not to win but it is good to see that I can compete at the highest level in the amateur game.
“I will probably go to the European Tour Qualifying School later this year and, depending on how it goes, I might also try the Asian Tour Qualifying School as a back-up.”
Langasque intended to make his switch to the paid ranks immediately after the European Team Championship. He will definitely delay that now, having earned a spot in the Open Championship after becoming the third French player to be crowned as Amateur champion. Whether he will take up similar invitations for The Masters and US Open next year remains to be seen, though.
“I’ll definitely wait for The Open but I will speak to my coach and my family because my objective is to play in the 2018 Ryder Cup,” he declared of an event being held at Le Golf National on the outskirts of Paris. “It will be my inspiration when I turn professional.”
Blairgowrie’s Bradley Neil, the player Langasque succeeded, is set to make his debut in the paid ranks in the aforementioned Aviemore event this week after signing off as an amateur in the US Open. “We wish Bradley all the best going forward,” said Scottish national coach Ian Rae after announcing the team for the trip to Sweden. “We now look forward as a team to the challenge in Sweden next month and building on the success we have enjoyed at the European Team event in recent years.
“We have a strong side, boasting youth with the likes of Ewen Ferguson and the experience of Graeme Robertson.”
For an event taking place in Finland at the same time as the men’s tournament, Nairn’s Sandy Scott has been rewarded for his recent good form – he won the Stephen Gallacher Foundation Trophy at Macdonald Cardrona eight days ago – by being selected in Scotland’s side for the European Boys’ Team Championship.
Joining forces with the 16-year-old on that particular assignment will be Christopher Curran (Harburn), Rory Franssen (Inverness), Calum Fyfe (Cawder), Murray Naysmith (Marriott Dalmahoy) and Will Porter (Carnoustie).