Daily round-up: Grant Forrest felt he was ‘playing in an oven’

Picture: Ian Rutherford
Picture: Ian Rutherford
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Grant Forrest felt he was “playing golf in an oven” before play was suspended due to soaring temperatures in qualifying for the Australian Amateur Championship in Melbourne.

Extreme heat forced players off the Metropolitan and Kingswood courses just before 4pm before play was later abandoned for the day due to a combination of lightning and strong winds.

“It was by far the hottest weather I’ve played in,” declared Forrest, who was unable to complete his second stroke-play round along with compatriots Ewen Ferguson, Jack McDonald and Connor Syme.

“It got up to 44 degrees and the gusty winds made it feel like an oven. It made it very difficult to concentrate and stay focused. I honestly thought play would have been suspended sooner than it did, and I wasn’t surprised that three competitors became ill.”

Needing to finish in the top 64 and ties to make the match-play phase, was set to resume right on the cut-off mark after dropping three shots in the last two holes he played to sit four-over for his round at the turn.

“I’m looking forward to tomorrow, when it looks like it’s only going to be about 20 degrees,” added the Walker Cup player from Craigielaw.

Also after nine holes, Ferguson, from Bearsden, was two-under for the day, Drumoig man Syme one-under and Barassie’s McDonald one-over, all sitting inside the qualifying zone.

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Bradley Neil is determined not to be distracted by Open Championship spots being up for grabs when he sets out among seven Scots in the Joburg Open tomorrow.

“I don’t see that as an added incentive, just a bonus if you play really well,” said the Blairgowrie player of the leading three non-exempt players in the top 10 on Sunday securing places in this July’s Claret Jug joust at Royal Troon.

“There are other qualifying events and my main concern this week is playing well and seeing where that takes me.”

Neil, who failed to qualify for last week’s BMW SA Open at Glendower, has received a sponsor’s invitation for this event at Royal Johannesburg & Kensington Golf Club.

“I’m feeling good, having had a productive week in the build up to the tournament so hopefully the week of preparation is what I needed,” he added.

“It’s just a case of letting things happen, not to worry about them or try force anything.”

Also in the field for the £700,000 event are Paul Lawrie, David Drysdale, Craig Lee, Jamie McLeary, Scott Henry and Peter Whiteford.

Lawrie is exempt for Troon along with Ernie Els, David Howell and Jaco Van Zyl.

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Craig Lawrie started a four-event run on the Algarve Pro Golf Tour by finishing joint-sixth in a 36-holer at Penina.

He followed an 70 with a 71 - both bogey-free efforts - for a five-under-par total in an event won by Englishman Jordan Smith on 11-under.

“I played really solid tee to green, hitting 32 of 36 greens in regulation,” said Craig, Paul’s oldest son. “I didn’t feel I putted badly, just never really holed much. “To be bogey-free for the 36 holes was nice, as was starting the year with a tie for sixth.

“I’m playing in two more 36 hole events then a three-rounder to finish the trip.”

Lawrie finished ahead of Jarmo Sandelin, who played on the same Ryder Cup team as his dad at Brookline in 1999, after the Swede, who’d led overnight, slipped to a second-round 79.

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Scottish pair Paul Doherty and Clarke Lutton both ended the opening day of the Asian Tour Qualifyng School final in the top half of a 249-strong field in Thailand.

Doherty, a former Scottish Boys’ champion, shot a one-under 70 in Hua Hin to sit joint-53rd while Dubai-based Lutton is just outside the top 100 after a 72.