Craigielaw’s Grant Forrest was disappointed but certainly not downhearted after missing out on a trio of dream dates.
A day after turning 22, Forrest lost 4&2 to Frenchman Romain Langasque in the final of the Amateur Championship at Carnoustie.
The East Lothian star found himself trailing from the third hole onwards in the 36-hole title shootout.
He was still feeling confident despite standing three down at the halfway stage only to leave himself with a mountain to climb after losing four of the first five holes in the afternoon.
To his credit, Forrest refused to throw in the towel and, helped by a 50-foot eagle putt at the 12th, he’d reduced the deficit to three down with four to play.
But, after Langasque had played a great 7-iron from a fairway bunker to save par at the 15th, Forrest’s fightback was ended when his tee shot was unfortunate to run off the back of the green at the next.
“I thought that getting back from three down after the first round was manageable,” insisted the 2012 Scottish Amateur champion afterwards.
“But my start to the afternoon round killed it –coming back from seven down was always going to be a tall order.
“However, this week has been a great confidence boost. The last couple of months have been a bit of a grind but I picked a great week to start playing well again.
“It is disappointing that I didn’t win, but a performance like this is just what I needed and hopefully I’ve done my Walker Cup chances some good.”
That event is being held at Royal Lytham in September and Forrest is certainly now near the head of the queue to make the Great Britain & Ireland team.
It’s just a pity for him that his diary doesn’t include Open, Masters and US Open appearances as well, with those invitations going to Langasque instead.
But, while the 20-year-old from the Côte d’Azur will definitely take up the first of those to play at St Andrews next month, it’s uncertain whether he’ll head to either Augusta or Oakmont next year.
“I was going to turn professional in three weeks after the European Team Championship,” admitted the new champion. “I will definitely stay amateur to play in The Open as that will be incredible, but I don’t know about The Masters or the US Open as my objective is to play in the (2018) Ryder Cup (in France).”
Next up for Forrest is an appearance in this week’s SSE Scottish Hydro Challenge at Macdonald Spey Valley in Aviemore.
“It will be good to play against the pros,” he admitted. “It will be my first appearance in the Spey Valley event, but I’ve played in The Open (at Muirfield in 2013) and the Johnnie Walker Championship (the previous year at Gleneagles).”
After that, he’ll then head to Glasgow Gailes in Ayrshire next Tuesday for the Final Qualifying for The Open, having been exempt from today’s Regional event at Bruntsfield Links.
As the events continue to come thick and fast, Forrest will head to Sweden the following week for the European Team Championship. Joining forces with him at Halmstad will be former South East District Open winners Graeme Robertson (Glenbervie) and Jack McDonald (Barassie) as well as Ewen Ferguson (Bearsden), Greig Marchbank (Thornhill) and Conor Syme (Drumoig).
The sextet were selected after Blairgowrie’s Bradley Neil, last year’s Amateur champion, confirmed his intention to turn pro in this week’s Challenge Tour in the Highlands.
“We wish Bradley all the best going forward,” said National Coach, Ian Rae. “We now look forward as a team to the challenge in Sweden next month and building on the success we have enjoyed at the European Team event in recent years. We have a strong side, boasting youth with the likes of Ewen Ferguson and the experience of Graeme Robertson, and we’re confident of again competing well.”
Scotland’s last win in the event was in 2009, having finished fourth 12 months ago.