Forrest marches on as Smail bows out at Royal Dornoch

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GUTSY Grant Forrest was 
flying the Lothians flag in 
today’s Scottish Amateur Golf Championship quarter-finals at Royal Dornoch.

But he was disappointed that his opponent in the last-eight clash wasn’t Craigielaw clubmate Greg Smail.

That mouth-watering tie was on the cards when Forrest swept to a thumping 6 and 5 win over Royal Aberdeen’s Donald Macandrew and Smail was also leading his fifth-round match.

But it was Glenbervie’s Fraser Moore who was standing between Forrest and a place in the semi-finals instead after he fought back to beat Smail on the last.

“It would have been nice to play Greg as he’s one of my best friends,” admitted Forrest. “We’ve known each other since I joined Craigielaw, but we’ve never played against each other in something like this.”

Forrest’s feat in reaching the last eight is remarkable given that he’s still grieving after the death of his father Graeme three weeks ago following a battle with cancer.

“What happened to my dad is driving me on this week,” admitted the 19-year-old, who is chasing a national hat-trick after winning the Scottish Under-16s in 2009 and the Scottish Boys the following year.

“He is definitely proving an inspiration. When he was ill it was harder to play as it was in the back of my mind, but now I’ve got a clearer head.” He’s also got his mum Audrey and little sister Alisa supporting him out on the fairways on the Highlands course.

“Mum is usually too nervous to watch me, so it’s nice to have them here,” added Forrest.

In a ding-dong battle with Moore, Smail lost the 15th to fall behind but then won the 17th after his opponent three-putted. But, after finding the rough off the tee, the 19-year-old was unable to make par at the last and so missed out on that fairytale all-Craigielaw clash.

Dunbar’s Zander Culverwell and Craig Deerness of Harburn also saw their brave title bids ended in the last 16.

Culverwell birdied the 20th to beat James Ross of Royal Burgess in their Capital clash in the morning.

But, after needing extra holes again in the fifth round, the former Lothians champion then lost at the 19th to Bearsden’s Richard Docherty.

“It’s my best in the tournament but I’m still bitterly disappointed as I had trust in my ability and hoped I could go further,” said Culverwell.

Deerness also bowed out in the fifth round after running into top seed Graeme Robertson as the Glenbervie player hit top form.

Robertson, winner of the Craigmillar Park Open at the start of the season, was eight-under for 15 holes in winning 6 and 4 in a cracking match.

“It’s still been a great week for me as I’ve been happy to show that I can mix it with the big boys,” said Deerness. “Now I’d love to win a Lothians call-up.”