Forrest Claims Scottish Amateur Championship with Emphatic Win at Royal Dornoch
Grant Forrest, the Craigielaw teenager, today added his name to the impressive Scottish Amateur Championship roll of honour after securing an emotional third national title with victory at Royal Dornoch.
Coming over three weeks after the death of his father, Graeme, to cancer, Forrest did his family proud with an emphatic 9&7 triumph in the 36-hole final against Richard Docherty (Bearsden). It was the biggest win in the final since Colin Montgomerie’s victory at Nairn 25 years ago.
The SGU National Men’s Squad player, who will return for his second year of study at the University of San Diego next month, failed to find the top form that had swatted aside his opponents earlier in the week. Still, the 19-year-old managed to dig deep to hold off the challenge of Docherty, a surprise package in the 85th staging of the Scottish Amateur Championship.
After a superb six days on the glorious Dornoch Firth, Forrest came out on top from a starting field of 256, representing more than 130 clubs, and triumphed over eight matches spanning nine rounds. Following his success in the Scottish Under-16s in 2009 and the Scottish Boys a year later, he has achieved a notable hat-trick.
“It feels great,” said Grant. “My mum, Audrey, was crying when I came off the green after my win so it means a lot. My dad would have been proud, it would have been his 50th birthday yesterday, and all he wanted was for me to do my best.
“It was actually the worst I’ve hit the ball all week, but when you play so many rounds in the space of a week your timing can be a little off. My long game wasn’t quite on song but I made a lot of up and downs.”
“I got putted off the course,” admitted Docherty. “His short game is one of the best I’ve ever seen. I still take a lot of positives, I felt as good as Grant tee to green.”
Forrest has now joined a stellar past winner’s list that includes legendary amateur Charlie Green and modern professionals such as Montgomerie and Stephen Gallacher.
Another European Tour player, Steven O’Hara, was the previous Scottish Amateur victor at Royal Dornoch back in 2000, while Dean Robertson triumphed over Raymond Russell the first time the SGU’s flagship event was staged at the Highland links in 1993.
Forrest is also the first Lothians winner of the Scottish Amateur since John Gallagher in 2007, and emulates the past two champions, David Law and Michael Stewart, in claiming a Scottish Amateur and Scottish Boys double.
Cheered on this week by his family and well-wishers from East Lothian, Forrest laid the foundations for his success this morning. Four up at lunch, thanks hugely to winning five of the first seven holes as Docherty struggled to settle, Forrest was always in control.
He posted an approximate one-over-par 71 this morning to Docherty’s 75 and it was a scrappy affair again after lunch on the Old Tom Morris-designed course. Forrest moved five up after his opponent was unable to save par from a greenside bunker at the 22nd.
Docherty, the 22-year-old Dumbartonshire match play champion who finished a four-year degree in America at Lindenwood, St Louis in May, pulled his drive left into thick rough at the 23rd to lose another hole, before Forrest went dormie eight with further wins at the 26th and 28th. Forrest’s par-4 at the 29th sealed victory.
Forrest, who had played only three Men’s events coming into this week due to his personal circumstances, has now vastly boosted his chances of selection for the Scotland Home Internationals side competing at Gailes Links in 10 days’ time.
The SGU offer their thanks to Royal Dornoch for providing such a fantastic course and giving courtesy to the players for the championship. Full credit to Eoin Riddell and his greenkeeping team, with all the players speaking highly of a truly wonderful links test.
Thanks also to club manager Neil Hampton for his help and assistance. Neil, incidentally, lost to Grant in the first round here and can now say he was beaten by the champion.
Grant is live on the BBC Golf Show tomorrow morning from 10.30-11am. Tune in to the radio!