Grant Forrest targets 'bigger and better things' after breakthrough pro win

The water poured over him by compatriot Calum Hill after he’d holed the winning putt in the Hero Open turned into something more appropriate for Grant Forrest’s maiden European Tour title triumph.

Grant Forrest recorded his maiden European Tour win with a brilliant victory in the Hero Open at Fairmont St Andrews last Sunday. Picture: Andrew Redington/Getty Images.
Grant Forrest recorded his maiden European Tour win with a brilliant victory in the Hero Open at Fairmont St Andrews last Sunday. Picture: Andrew Redington/Getty Images.

“I celebrated with plenty of champagne on Sunday night,” reported the 28-year-old, smiling, of how he’d marked the special occasion at an impromptu party at girlfriend Christy Farrell’s family home in Pencaitland.

Both Colin Montgomerie and Paul Lawrie have talked about how they didn’t celebrate early career successes the way they probably should have on reflection, but Scotland’s newest European Tour winner certainly savoured his breakthrough success.

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“It was (a big celebration) until I fell asleep on the couch at half two,” he added, admitting that he felt lucky to have landed the victory on home soil with family and friends watching as he finished birdie-birdie to pip Englishman James Morrison.

“A lot of times players win and you're in a foreign country,” said Forrest. “But to win and have all my friends and family, it would have felt like I had missed out if I hadn't been able to celebrate that.”

How had he felt on Monday morning? “I was a bit hungover,” he admitted, chuckling. “I got so many lovely messages from everyone. That’s when it sinks in. Having the exemption is a big thing. It is still sinking in, to be honest.

“I’m not getting too carried away. There’s a lot of golf to be played this season. I’m hoping to use this as a springboard to bigger things and re-set the goals and hopefully it takes me to bigger and better things.”

The Haddington-based player’s victory came in just his 77th start on the main tour, where Richard Bland took 478 attempts to do likewise and David Drysdale is still looking for his first win after more than 530 outings.

“I said that to someone on Monday,” said Forrest of Bland’s feat. “It’s amazing what he has done. This is my third season on the tour, and you start to doubt whether you will win.

“Someone like Richard winning after so many events is amazing. You see the confidence he gets from it. It’s amazing what confidence can do.

“Once you have the belief and once you have won, you can tell yourself that you can do it every week. I had a lot of people, players, coaches and caddies saying ‘your time will come’ but, until you actually believe it yourself, it doesn’t mean anything.”

Having climbed to 35th in the Race to Dubai - he’s also up to 174th in the world - the former Scottish Amateur champion has virtually secured a debut appearance in the season-ending DP World Tour Championship in Dubai in November.

“Two years ago I was watching that for a couple of days when I was out practising in Dubai and it just makes you want to be there,” he said, the same being the case about next year’s 150th Open at St Andrews.

“It would be special,” said the man who has now won as both an amateur - in the St Andrews Links Trophy - and a professional in the Auld Grey Toun. “Any Open is great, but to play the 150th would be very special. Hopefully I can be there.”

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