Scottish Open: Grant Forrest plans to use Irish Open exploits as springboard

Grant Forrest
Grant Forrest
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Grant Forrest had a week to remember in the Irish Open and is now looking for more of the same in the Scottish equivalent as he makes his debut in the event less than five miles from home.

The 26-year-old from North Berwick has been looking forward to this week’s Aberdeen Standard Investments-sponsored tournament at The Renaissance Club since the moment he secured his European Tour card at the end of last year.

He will be heading into the first round of the $7 million Rolex Series event on Thursday with a real spring in his step due to the fact he has all but secured his playing rights again for next season.

After picking up a career-best cheque for ¤81,250 for finishing 14th in the Irish Open at Lahinch, Forrest is up to 71st in the Race to Dubai rankings, having already chalked up top 10s in the Mauritius Open and Hassan Trophy.

“The card is as good as taken care of, which is a big relief,” he admitted to the Edinburgh Evening News after arriving at The Renaissance Club. “I can play freely now and the aim is to try and get into the three big events at the end of the season.”

A trio of Rolex Series events, he was referring to the Turkish Airlines Open, Nedbank Challenge in South Africa and DP World Tour Championship in Dubai, with 70, 60 and 50 spots respectively up for grabs.

Another big cheque this weekend would certainly help towards that goal and, having just missed out in the battle in Ireland for three Open Championship berths up for grabs, Forrest is also excited to get another crack this week at getting himself into the season’s final major at Royal Portrush.

“It was a great week all round,” said the former Walker Cup player of his effort at Lahinch, where he followed an opening 71 with rounds of 66-65 and 68 to finish on 10-under-par in an event won for the second time in three years by Spanish star Jon Rahm.

“To be honest, I wasn’t feeling too confident at the start of the week but I managed to have a good round on Friday to get through to the weekend.

“I then had a great day with Rocky (Englishman Robert Rock) on Saturday. I thought my 65 was pretty good, but not as good as his 60. It was the most enjoyable round of golf I’ve had in a tournament for while, to be honest, as we were both making putts and it was good fun, especially as we got the crowd going as well.

“The first 12 holes, we were both throwing in birdies and it was almost like a match-play game then he really got it going the last six holes as he made some great putts.

“He does a bit of coaching now but doesn’t do any putting. However, by the end, I was saying, ‘maybe you should also give the putting coaching a go after today’.

“It was also great playing with Jon Rahm on the final day. He played phenomenally on the back nine and proved what a top player he is.

“I played all right. I didn’t play my best but I made some good par saves around the turn and every shot is worth a lot to me in a big event like that so I just had to dig in.

“I would have had to get to 13-under to secure an Open spot, but it was a great atmosphere as the crowds were massive. It was like a sea of people on the back nine.”