Grant Forrest stayed on course to become the first player in 30 years to defend the Fairstone Scottish Amateur Championship, after two nail-biting victories to reach the quarter-finals.
If the Craigielaw man had enjoyed comfortable progress to round four at Blairgowrie, the 20-year-old’s mettle was tested to the limit yesterday.
Forrest, the top seed who arrived in Perthshire fresh from a debut appearance at The Open, first showed great resolve to end the challenge of Royal Wimbledon’s Ryan Lumsden. Remarkably playing extra holes for the first time competitively, Forrest holed a testing five-footer at the 19th before finally shrugging off the Anglo-Scot’s challenge with a 15-foot birdie at the 21st.
“I really got quite nervous, knowing you can’t make a mistake,” admitted the Craigielaw player, who had been three down to Lumsden after nine. “But going down the stretch gives you more experience and makes you a better player.”
It was the putter that again proved Forrest’s hero against Jamie Savage in their last-16 tie. Having fluffed his chip at the 18th, he rolled in a 15-footer to avoid more extra holes. “I had a funny lie for the chip, with the grass growing against the ball, so it was nice to make the putt,” he added.
Forrest is seeking to emulate the late Cardross great Charlie Green, who last successfully defended the Scottish Amateur in 1983. Intriguingly, Forrest’s next opponent is from Cardross, the three-time club champion Liam Halliday. Third seed Jack McDonald – he and Forrest are the only seeds left – meets Kirkhill’s Craig Ross in the quarter-finals, while Dunbar’s Alexander Culverwell faces Kyle McClung of Wigtownshire County in the last eight. The quarter-final line-up is completed by Lundin’s James White and Bearsden’s Ewen Ferguson.