Grant Forrest aims to ‘build’ on flying start

Ambitious: Grant Forrest

Ambitious: Grant Forrest

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Grant Forrest is aiming to “build” on a flying start to his professional career – a top-45 finish in the £4 million Alfred Dunhill Links Championship.

The 23-year-old from North Berwick hit the ground running in the paid ranks as he closed with a one-under-par 71 at St Andrews for a six-under par 282 total.

The excellent effort earned Forrest a cheque for £21,316 as he finished joint-37th in an event that saw English ace Tyrrell Hatton secure a maiden European Tour triumph with a runaway victory.

“It is a big confidence boost,” admitted the Craigielaw star. “It is different to when you are playing as an amateur when there is a bit less pressure.

“When you turn pro you really want to make an impact. I expected to be nervous and I think when you know you are going to be nervous it helps. When it catches you off guard it can play with you a bit.”

The former Scottish Amateur champion signed off in style, spinning his approach at the last on the Old Course back to a couple of inches for a birdie that was worth just under £3500.

“I had 81 yards to the pin,” he said, smiling. “It was similar to a shot I had at the Links Trophy (when he made an eagle en route to winning that event in 2014).

“I was closer with that one and it was more of a pitch, but it was a similar angle. I just wanted to get back under par as I was in that position throughout the back nine until I bogeyed the 17th.”

Next up for Forrest is the second stage of the European Tour Qualifying School, which takes place at four venues in Spain next month.

“I just want to build on this,” he said. “It is good to make a cut, but it is also good to see how much room you have for improvement.

“I just played solid throughout the first three days. Today I was just out of my rhythm a little bit which I think was down to the nerves but I fought through it.”

Former winner Stephen Gallacher closed with a 68 to finish 38th as Hatton claimed his maiden European Tour victory with a record-equalling 23-under-par total.