Walker Cup winner Grant Forrest ended a near two-year individual victory drought in capturing the prestigious Battle Trophy at Crail Golfing Society.
The 22-year-old Craigielaw member, who helped GB&I win the Walker Cup at Royal Lytham last September, defeated Dubai-based Scot Euan McIntosh with a birdie at the first extra hole to win for the first time since capturing the 2014 St Andrews Links trophy at nearby St Andrews.
Both players ended the 72-holes of regulation play tied at three over par with Forrest posting a closing 74 and the 47-year-old McIntosh a 75 on the Gil Hanse-designed Craighead Links course.
Forrest, a past Scottish Amateur and Scottish Boys champion and runner-up in last summer’s Amateur Championship at Carnoustie, went into the last round trailing two strokes behind the lead of Drumoig’s Connor Syme, the Australian Amateur champion.
Forrest kick-started his challenge with a second hole birdie but dropped shots at six and seven before a second birdie of his round at the par-5 eighth hole. He birdied the short par four 10th for a first time but proceeded to bogey the par-3 13th and par-4 14th holes ahead of also the last for his 74.
McIntosh, who has been based at the Els Club in Dubai for the past eight months, pared his opening four holes before a bogey at the fifth and then bogeyed the ninth. The former Scottish Assistants champion then dropped a third shot at the 11th before a first birdie of his round at the 13th.
But he proceeded to drop shots at 14 and 15 ahead of a birdie at the par four 16th and only to give a shot back at the next ahead of signing for his three-over-par 75.
After a poor tee shot from McIntosh at the first play-off hole, the 10th, Forrest capitalised with a birdie to triumph.
“It’s great to again win an individual trophy as it’s been a long time since my St Andrews Links trophy win,” said Forrest, who contests the Lytham Trophy at the end of the month.
“I struggled with my game last year and it’s just good to get back on track with a victory. All round my game was good and I kept it tidy, and really I only had one or two poor tee shots so keeping it in play was the key.
“And the conditions here this week at Crail were certainly a lot tougher than when I won in St Andrews as it was so windy out there.”
McIntosh, who was born in Edinburgh, intends spending some time in Scotland before returning to Dubai.
He said: “I am used to playing in 32 degrees weather with no wind, as it was so tough out there over the weekend. I just don’t know what happened to my tee shot in the play-off as I tried to cut a 3-wood and just lost it. But fair play to Grant as he clearly played very steady over the four rounds.”
It was the second occasion in three years a play-off was needed to decide the winner of the Battle Trophy. Syme, who led for the opening three rounds as he had done 12 months ago, slumped to an 84 to finish in a share of ninth place.
Meantime, Liam Johnston was celebrating when he pulled out a 3-wood and then aced the par-4 10th hole earlier in the final round. It was his fifth ace, but a first in competition for the Dumfries & County player.
Knox Runner-up in the US
US-based Scot Russell Knox returned to form after finishing joint-second in the RBC Heritage on the PGA Tour on Sunday night.
The Inverness native closed with a seven under par total at Harbour Town GL, Hilton Head in South Carolina, sharing second with Luke Donald and finishing just two strokes behind the winner, South African Branden Grace.
Knox, who missed the cut on his Masters debut at Augusta National last week, closed with a superb 67 to surge up the leaderboard.
Knox has now climbed to third spot in the lucrative FedEx Cup rankings, behind Jason Day and Adam Scott, building on his win in the WGC-HSBC Champions event in China last November.