Golf: Grant Forrest inspired by father as he battles to quarter-finals
THREE weeks after the death of his father, Graeme, following a battle with cancer, Grant Forrest has a third national title in his sights, having shown guts and determination to reach the quarter-finals of the Scottish Amateur Championship in the Highlands.
The 19-year-old scored two thumping wins at Royal Dornoch – 6 and 4 in the morning against Hamilton’s Stewart Henderson then 6 and 5 over Royal Aberdeen’s Donald Macandrew – to set up a clash against Fraser Moore, one of two Glenbervie players still standing in the SGU’s flagship event.
A player with pedigree – he lifted the Scottish Under-16s title in 2009, then added the Scottish Boys Championship the following year – Forrest’s schedule this summer since returning from his freshman year at San Diego University has been limited to just three events prior to this one due to the family situation.
“What happened to my dad is driving me on this week. He is definitely proving an inspiration,” admitted Forrest. “When he was ill it was harder to play as it was in the back of my mind, but now I’ve got a clearer head.”
Mum Audrey and sister Alisa have made the long journey to Sutherland to support him. “Mum is usually too nervous to watch me, so it’s nice to have them here,” added Forrest, who was denied a last-eight clash with his Craigielaw club-mate and close friend, Greg Smail, after the latter took a bogey-5 at the last to lose to Moore.
Graeme Robertson, the other Glenbervie man in the quarter-finals, is the only seed remaining, though the top-ranked player admitted he could have also fallen by the wayside after finding himself one down with three to play before coming back to win on the home green in his morning match against Troon Welbeck’s Charlie MacNeal.
Galvanised by a spot of lunch, the 24-year-old treated his afternoon joust with Harburn’s Craig Deerness as a “fresh start” and was a man transformed, covering the 15 holes he needed to win that one in a splendid eight-under-par. “I didn’t hit any shots in between the two matches, but I played superb,” said the Stirling University student in assessing that effort.
Robertson’s opponent this morning is Bryan Fotheringham, the 34-year-old Forres stalwart who now lives and works in Inverness. Bidding to become the first Highlander to claim the title since Hugh Stuart, another Forres man, 40 years ago, Fotheringham has defied a distinct lack of top-level competition this season to make it this far. “I’ll wake up and find it’s a Cinderella story,” he said after an eye-catching victory over Gordon Stevenson from Whitecraigs.
Helped by holing a 9-iron from 150 yards for an eagle at the third, Kirkhill teenager Craig Ross also progressed and he now meets Richard Docherty, a 22-year-old from Bearsden who won his fifth-round encounter against Zander Culverwell, last year’s Battle Trophy winner, at the 19th after the Dunbar player failed to make par after finding sand off the tee.
In the remaining quarter-final, Duff House Royal’s Lewis Mutch, the youngest player still in the hunt at 17, takes on Elliot Wilson, a 19-year-old from Berwick-upon-Tweed who qualifies through having grandparents who live in Burnmouth. Mutch, winner of the Donald Ross Junior Open here two years ago, claimed the scalp of Greig Marchbank, the newly-crowned Scottish Boys’ Stroke-Play champion.
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Weather for Edinburgh
Thursday 20 June 2013
Temperature: 11 C to 19 C
Wind Speed: 7 mph
Wind direction: North
Temperature: 11 C to 18 C
Wind Speed: 13 mph
Wind direction: West