Grant Forrest ‘really encouraged’ by strong show in Morocco
The 25-year-old Craigielaw man was sititng sole second, just a shot off the lead, after covering the opening eight holes in two-under-par in the final round of the Trophee Hassan II in Morocco.
He eventually ended up in joint-sixth in an event that saw Spaniard Jorge Campillo break his duck at the 229th time of asking on the circuit after a closing 74, but it was an effort that has filled Forrest with hope for the rest of the campaign.
“I was cruising along after eight holes and made probably my worst swing of the week on 9 in the water,” he said. “But I gave myself lots of chances coming in.
“I had good chances on 18, 17 and at 14 I hit a lovely shot into the par 3 and missed.
“Yeah, just wasn’t to be. Putts just didn’t drop on the back nine. But it was great just being in the mix. I know that my game’s not far away, so it’s really encouraging.”
The effort earned Forrest, one of four Scots to graduate from the Challenge Tour last season, just over £70,000, lifting him to 69th in the Race to Dubai.
Campillo, who had started the final day one behind overnight leader Erik Van Rooyen, carded a two-under-par 71. He finished on nine-under, two shots ahead of Van Rooyen and American duo Julian Suri and Sean Crocker.
The 32-year-old from Madrid had come into the €2.5 million with two second places and a third in his last four events and, when he bogeyed two of his first three holes in round four, it looked like he may miss out again.
But Campillo held his nerve brilliantly, birdieing the 16th and 17th to hit the front and was delighted to taste victory for the first time.
“It’s been a while but it’s worth it,” he said. “I’m just going to enjoy this. I made so many promises that I have to do after I win that I might have to take a few weeks off!”
South African Van Rooyen made it to the turn at level par, but bogeys at the 10th and 14th holes effectively ended his hopes with a closing 74. Suri’s 71, which included two birdies and 16 pars, handed him a share of second place.
David Law produced his best performance since winning the Vic Open earlier in the year, closing with a 72 to earn a share of 14th spot. In picking up a cheque for just under £30,000, the Aberdonian jumped to 39th in the Race to Dubai.
Stephen Gallacher and Richie Ramsay both closed with 71s to end up in a share of 57th spot on seven-over, five shots ahead of Marc Warren after he signed off with an 80.
In the LET’s Lalla Meryem Cup, which was running concurrently at the same venue, Nuria Iturrios made it a Spanish double as she stormed to a seven-shot success in landing the title for a second time.
“It’s amazing for me to win again here,” said Iturrios after carding a three-under 70 in the closing circuit for a 13-under 279 total, with Swedish pair Caroline Hedwall and Lina Boqvist sharing second spot.
Michele Thomson finished as top Scot in joint-28th on four-over, two ahead of Kylie Henry. Carly Booth and Kelsey Macdonald finshed on eight-over and 10-over respectively.
Aboyne’s Carmen Griffiths backed up compatriot Hannah Darling’s win in last year’s inaugural event by finishing second in the Girls Under-16s Amateur Championship at Fulford in Yorkshire.
As Italy’s Francesca Fiorellini completed a wire-to-wire win, Griffiths also underlined her potential by ending up as the only other player in the field to finish under par in tyhe 54-hole event.
She followed opening efforts of 77-75 with a brilliant five-under-par 70 in the closing circuit to finish three shots behind Fiorellini, who also signed off with a bogey-free effort in carding a 72.
Gullane’s Grace Crawford, the other Scot in the line up, finished joint-11th on three-over following a last-day 77.