Golf: Freshman honours for burgeoning Lothians duo Rachael and Grant

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LOTHIANS duo Rachael Watton and Grant Forrest have chalked up a notable double after both winning freshman honours on the American college circuit.

Mortonhall member Watton, who is on the golf team at Denver University, won the award for the Sun Belt Conference and also made its all-star team.

That followed her claiming the individual title at the Sun Belt Conference Championship and helping Denver win the team title for the ninth year in a row.

“I don’t really know what to say about it all, it hasn’t really sunk in yet,” said Watton. “I’m just honoured to have both those awards. They are voted for by the coaches of all the teams in our conference, so it is nice to get the recognition for the hard work.”

The teenager, who is one of the country’s brightest young talents, helped Scotland end a 19-year drought with victory in the Women’s Home Internationals in Wales two years ago.

She had a short spell at Strathclyde University before heading to Denver last year and is delighted with her decision. “It was hard at the beginning learning to juggle school work with golf and workouts and I am always busy, but it forces you to manage your time to get everything done,” she added. “The University of Denver is on the quarter system, so we get out a lot later than most colleges.

“I will be home on June 12 and, though I haven’t properly planned my schedule yet, I’m planning on playing the British Amateur, the European Individual and the English Ladies.”

Forrest, meanwhile, has been named the West Coast Conference Freshman of the Year after his first-season performances at San Diego University. The former Scottish Boys’ champion from Craigielaw sealed the award by finishing joint-fourth in the conference championship and was also named in the all-star team.

“After I watched Grant play in his first two events this year I knew he would have a great chance to win this award,” said San Diego head coach Cory Scoggin.

“He had a great autumn with three top-tens. His 66 in the final round at Edgewood, Nevada, where he beat the field by four shots, was one of the most impressive rounds I have seen as a coach. His spring started off slow but he has really started swinging it well lately and was right in the mix coming down the stretch this week at the WCC championship.

“Grant has a bright future as a Torero and I look forward to watching his game develop over the next few years.”