As four of his Walker Cup team-mates prepare for exciting starts to their professional careers in the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship this week, Grant Forrest has joined two others, Ewen Ferguson and Jack McDonald, in committing to the amateur ranks for another year.
“My game hasn’t been good enough, so I don’t see the point turning pro when I’ve not progressed in the European Tour Qualifying School,” said Forrest, referring to the fact he failed to come through last week’s stage one event at Collingtree Park in Northamptonshire. “I’ll get more opportunities as an amateur than I would if I was relying on invitations or playing on a third-tier tour like the EuroPro, so I’d much rather stay in the amateur game just now.”
The 22-year-old’s decision means that all three Scottish players in Great Britain & Ireland’s winning Walker Cup team at Royal Lytham earlier this month are staying put next season. McDonald, also 22, didn’t enter the Qualifying School while 19-year-old Ferguson pulled out of the same event that Forrest played in.
“Jack has made his decision for the same reasons as me. He wanted another year to work on his game after finishing university, as I now have, while Ewen is a couple of years younger so has plenty of time,” added Forrest, who intends to use opportunities such as training trips to Abu Dhabi and competitive outings in South Africa and Australia over the winter to get himself ready for a full domestic campaign next season. “All in all, I think they are good decisions.”
Joining Ashley Chesters, Jimmy Mullen and Gary Hurley in making his professional debut in this week’s £3.3 million pro-am event is Paul Dunne, who shared the lead after the third round of The Open on his last visit to this neck of the woods.
“I reflect on it a lot more than you imagine,” said the 22-year-old, smiling, having closed with a 78 to finish joint 30th in the Claret Jug joust. “There was a lot of disappointment that last day, but it’s important not to just look back on the negative points as I also played a lot of great golf that week.”