LOTHIANS star Grant Forrest was hoping some local knowledge could help him land the Scottish Amateur title in the Highlands today.
The 19-year-old admitted after reaching the 36-hole final that having Calum Stewart as his caddie this week had been a big help.
He’s from Brora but is also a member at Royal Dornoch, where Forrest faced Bearsden’s Richard Docherty in a battle to become the 2012 Scottish champion.
“Calum is a regular caddie here and is pretty much full-time in the summer,” revealed the Craigielaw player. “Having him on the bag is helping me feel confident over every shot and that’s been a big help.”
So, too, has the fact Stewart has been playing host to Forrest as well as his mum Audrey and little sister Alisa this week.
“We’re all staying with Callum up in Brora, which has been really nice,” added the 2010 Scottish Boys’ champion, who was watched by Lothians president Denys Flaherty as he progressed to the final.
Forrest headed into the title showdown as the strong favourite, having won four successive matches on the banks of the Dornoch Firth without needing to go beyond the 15th hole.
The latest came against Duff House Royal’s Lewis Mutch, who fell 4 and 3 to Forrest in their semi-final clash.
The East Lothian youngster set the tone by winning the first with a 15-foot birdie and was always in the driving seat after hitting a 6-iron to 20 feet to go three up with a birdie-2 at the sixth.
“It’s a bit surreal just now,” said Forrest as he savoured reaching the final – the first Craigielaw player to achieve the feat.
“Moving from boys’ golf into the men’s game always seemed like a level up but I’ve now managed to do it.”
Reaching the final was made sweeter by the fact it was achieved on the date his father Graeme, who died just over three weeks ago after losing a battle with cancer, would have celebrated his birthday.
“I had actually forgotten until my mum reminded me this morning and it was in the back of my mind all day,” added Forrest.
“To do the best I can is all he really wanted. He told me to work hard and hopefully make it as a pro one day.”
Win or lose in the final, Forrest must be in with a chance of securing a spot in the Scottish side for the Home Internationals starting at Glasgow Gailes on Wednesday week.
“That wasn’t in my mind before this week – but it is a little bit now,” he admitted. “I’m going on holiday next week with my mum and sister but if I’m picked for the Home Internationals I’ll come back early.
• CATRIONA MATTHEW fed off the memory of her Solheim Cup triumph at Killeen Castle to open up a one stroke lead after the first round of the Ladies Irish Open supported by Fáilte Ireland yesterday.
The 42-year-old Scot fired a five under par 67 in fine but windy conditions to end the day a stroke ahead of Sweden’s Pernilla Lindberg.
The 2009 Ricoh Women’s British Open champion shot to the top of the leader board thanks to seven birdies in her last eight holes.
Matthew admitted that she took inspiration from being back at the scene of one of the biggest highlights of her career last September, when she played a key role in Europe’s Solheim Cup victory, going undefeated with a memorable 6 and 5 win over Paula Creamer in the opening singles.