Grant Forrest swaps island golf in Scotland for Belfry battle in British Masters
“We went away for five days last week,” said Forrest of how he’d celebrated his birthday with wife-to-be Christy. “We did some of the Hebrides and Skye. Neither of us had been off the mainland before and it was just amazing to see what Scotland has to offer.”
Though purely for fun rather than practice, he took the opportunity to play Isle of Harris Golf Club and Isle of Skye Golf Club - both nine-holers. “I just took a pencil bag with only irons in it and it was good fun just pitching up,” he added.
Though he enjoyed “switching off” for a bit, Forrest is back at work this week and joined Bob MacIntyre, Ewen Ferguson, David Law, Richie Ramsay, Calum Hill and Connor Syme in making it through to the weekend in the Betfred British Masters hosted by Sir Nick Faldo at The Belfry.
In danger of facing an early journey back up the M6 as he stood one-over-par at the turn in the second circuit, Forrest reeled off four birdies in six holes to salvage a 70 and leave himself just outside the top 20 at the halfway stage in the DP World Tour event on two under.
“I started the back nine really well by making five 3s then birdied 15 as well,” he said. “Unfortunately, I bogeyed 17, which was a good chance today. My worst shot of the day was a chip out of the trees - a pretty basic shot - as I didn’t hit it hard enough and left it in the rough miles back But, all in all, pretty happy to grind it out and now see what the weekend brings as I think it will be quite bunched.”
Like Forrest, David Law sat out last week’s BMW International Open in Germany. In his case, it was to spend some time at home with his young family as he strives to get the perfect balance in his life.
“One of the positives about this year is that I’ve not played overly much,” said the Aberdonian. “That’s been semi through choice as I’ve wanted to have two-week breaks and not wanted to play more than three weeks in a row. I’ve played as much as I’ve liked to, which is a little less than I would normally do.
“I like to feel I have semi earned the right to say ‘look, I want another month at home this year’. I think I’ll play 24 times this year and last year I played 28. It doesn’t sound a lot, but a month is a long time to be spending at home.
“To be honest, I was sitting at home last week when Germany was on and normally I’d be looking at the leaderboard and thinking ‘I’m missing out, I should be there playing’ and I wasn’t. I was happy and content, which probably shows a little bit about where my game is at.”
He was speaking after covering the opening 12 holes in the second round to move to six under before taking a double-bogey 6 at the fifth then drop another shot at the next hole. “Obviously I had it going,” said Law after eventually signing for a 71 to sit on three under. “But, after taking a bogey at six, we said ‘look, at the start of the day someone had said you’d be three under for the tournament with three holes to play, you’d take that’. So good day and I’m happy with that.”
With spots up for grabs in this event and also the Made in Himmerland and Genesis Scottish Open over the next two weeks, Law is hoping he can secure a second appearance in The Open after making his major debut at St Andrews last year.
“Yeah, definitely,” he said of that being a big goal. “I’m not doing the qualifying next week. I’d rather prepare like I did last year for the Irish Open (his route into the Claret Jug event) and feel as if I am putting everything into the tournaments I’m playing and it would be nice to play in The Open again.”
MacIntyre carded a second successive 70 to sit alongside Ferguson, who came home in two under for his 71, on four under. “I’ve not been feeling comfortable at all tee to green, but my short game is back,” reported MacIntyre. “I’ve been doing a lot of work pre-round just to get prepared for going on the golf course and it’s helped.
“Greg (Milne, his caddie) is helping with that before I start. He’s switched on with all the technology and it’s been good. There’s confident signs. Hopefully when the ball striking comes, the short game is still there.”
Ramsay, who tied for third along with Syme in this event last year, mixed five birdies with a double bogey and a bogey as he signed for a 70. “The two days I haven’t played that great, but my short game has been really good and I’ve putted well, holing out really well from eight feet and in,” said Ramsay.
“I shot level par yesterday, but I was really proud of myself because I got the most out of my game. I could have shot two or three over in a heartbeat, but shooting level kept me in it. Today I chipped in twice from off the green. I played lovely in parts but not as steady as I would normally do. Today was better, just had one hiccup on short par 4 (13th), where I three-putted.”
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