Helped by one of the best shots of the final day as he almost holed his approach at the last on the Old Course, Grant Forrest has hit the ground running as a professional. A closing 71 for a six-under-par total of 282 secured a share of 41st spot in the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship for the 23-year-old Scot on his debut in the paid ranks.
Having secured his first pay cheque by making the cut thanks to a splendid six-under 66 in the third round at St Andrews on Saturday, a gritty last-day effort rounded off a polished performance at the outset of Forrest’s new career.
“It is a big confidence boost,” admitted the Craigielaw player, who earned £21,316, with £3,000 of that being secured when he spun his second from 81 yards at the 18th back to within a couple of inches of the hole. “It is different to when you are playing as an amateur when there is a bit less pressure. When you turn pro, you really want to make an impact.”
Having won the Links Trophy at St Andrews in 2014 and also making the final of the Amateur Championship at Carnoustie last year, Forrest had gone into the event feeling confident. In grabbing the chance he was given thanks to a sponsor’s invitation with both hands, he not only put a smile on his own face but also handed Scottish golf a boost by offering hope that the tartan contingent on the European Tour could be bolstered in the near future by some new blood.
“I expected to be nervous and I think when you know you are going to be nervous it helps. When it catches you off guard, it can play with you a bit,” added Forrest, who heads to Spain next month for the second stage of the European Tour Qualifying School.
“It helped being comfortable on courses that I am familiar with. I played solid throughout the first three days. Today I was just out of my rhythm a little bit, which I think was down to the nerves but I fought through it. Now I just want to build on this.”