Riding on the crest of a wave after his encouraging professional debut in the Dunhill Links, Grant Forrest burst out of the blocks in the first round of the Ras Al Khaimah Challenge in the United Arab Emirates this morning.
The 23-year-old Craigielaw man set the clubhouse target at Al Hamra in the penultimate event on this season’s Challenge Tour with another impressive performance.
Out in the second group of the day, Forrest picked up birdies at the second, fifth, sixth and eighth to reach the turn in four-under 32 before making his fifth gain of the round at the 12th. He signed off with six straight pars for a flawless 67,
“It’s been a good start I’m rolling on a bit of confidnce from the Dunhill Links,” admitted Forrest afterwards.
“I drove the ball really well and that made life a lot easier. I also rolled in a few putts.
“When I got the text saying I was off at 6.40am I thought it was a joke. I was up at 4.30 but it was actually a great draw.
“There’s not as much wind and you probably get the front nine in cooler conditions.”
Playing on a sponsor’s invitation, Forrest finished joint-41st in the Dunhill Links and is using this event to help him prepare for the second stage of the European Tour Qualifying School in Spain in a fortnight’s time.
He spent some time at The Montgomerie course in Dubai last week and admitted before teeing off in Ras Al Khaimah that his mindset going into this Challenge Tour event has changed from when he played in five events as an amateur on the second-tier circuit earlier in the year.
“I’d say it definitely has,” insisted the former Walker Cup player. “My goal is always to give 100 per cent and play my best at every event, but the Dunhill gave me confidence that I’m capable of competing and winning out here.”
All four Scottish players in the field broke par in the second round of the PGA Cup Play-Offs at Saunton in Devon.
Greig Hutcheon, a two-time winner of the season-ending event, backed up his opening 71 with a two-under 69 to sit joint-third at the halfway stage.
The Paul Lawrie Golf Centre Inchmarlo man is three shots behind Englishman Paul Streeter after he broke out of a tie for the overnight lead with a second-day 68.
Clydeway Golf’s Graham Fox is backing up Hutcheon in the title battle, having matched Streeter’s three-under salvo to sit joint-seventh on one-under.
Anglo Scot Ian Campbell (Cheshunt Park) is tied 11th on one-over after a 69, while Paul O’Hara (North Lanarkshire Leisure) is up to 16th following a 70 for four-under.
The top ten finishers are guaranteed a place in next year’s BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth while there are two places up for grabs at the British Masters as well three spots in the Great Britain & Ireland PGA Cup team
Clarke Lutton headed into the final round of the MENA Tour’s Ghala Open in Oman sitting just three shots off the lead.
He followed an opening 70 with a 68 in Muscat for a six-under-par total, leaving the joint-pacesetters, Ahmed Marjan and Fernand Osther, in his sights.
Jack McDonald sits five off the lead after a second consective 70, with Danny Kay (70-71) a shot further back.
Jack Doherty had a second-round 68 to move to one-under, four shots better than his younger brother Paul (73).