COMPARED to last year, it’s been a much more encouraging season for Lothians amateurs and pride of place in this end-of-term wrap up definitely goes to Grant Forrest and Paul Ferrier.
Both produced notable individual performances and also helped Scotland, led by Scott Knowles, to win the Home Internationals for the first time in six years. That was one of two highlights for Craigielaw teenager Forrest, the other having come shortly before when he won the Scottish Amateur Championship at Royal Dornoch.
It completed a hat-trick of national titles for Forrest, the Scottish Under-16s champion in 2009 then Scottish Boys’ champion the following year.
His latest triumph came a few weeks after the death of his father, Graeme, and was down to character as much as skill.
Forrest is now back at college in San Diego, where he’ll be aiming to keep improving before his next domestic captain, when Walker Cup spots will be up for grabs.
Ferrier would also have been a contender for that Great Britain & Ireland team but is now pursuing his dream of becoming a Tour professional.
The Baberton player probably didn’t get the credit he deserved for winning the Scottish Boys’ Championship at Dunbar in 2007. His triumph was looked upon by some as a flash in the pan. Yet, using his triumph in last year’s East of Scotland Open at Lundin as the springboard, Ferrier came out this year and certainly proved those critics wrong.
He produced a brilliant performance to reach the semi-finals of the Amateur Championship at Royal Troon, losing to eventual winner Alan Dunbar. On the back of that, he secured his first full Scotland cap for the Home Internationals and played his part in the sweet success at Glasgow Gailes.
It was a first triumph in the event as team captain for Knowles, who is now hoping a three-man Scottish side can give a good account of themselves in this week’s Eisenhower Trophy.
Bidding to repeat a success on the world stage in Australia four years ago, Graeme Robertson, Paul Shields and Matthew Clark are flying the Saltire in Turkey.
“This is the biggest amateur team event and it feels like it _ 72 teams all made up of excellent golfers,” said Knowles.
When the next Eisenhower Trophy comes around, in two years, Forrest should be a strong contender and James Ross, too. The Royal Burgess man is undoubtedly one of the most improved players on the Scottish scene over the last couple of years and just missed out on a spot in that Home International team.
He recorded a first Scottish Order of Merit success this year, winning the Sutherland Chalice in Dumfries, and looks as though he can go from strength to strength over the next few seasons.
There’s also plenty of life left in Kingsknowe’s Allyn Dick, who overcame losing his funding to win the East of Scotland Open – a fourth Order of Merit success in four years.
On the team front, Lothians, once the event’s kingpins, failed to make the medal matches in the Scottish Area Team Championship at Blairgowrie. But, for the third year in a row and fourth time in the last five years, Lothians did win the boys’ equivalent at Cowglen.
All in all, then, it was a pretty decent campaign by the Capital’s amateur aces.