Triple boost for Lothians golfer Forrest

Grant Forrest is Scotland's top-ranked amateur
Grant Forrest is Scotland's top-ranked amateur
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GRANT FORREST has made another notable addition to his CV after being named as the top player on his American college circuit.

The West Coast Conference Player of the Year title was bestowed upon the Lothians star on the back of his three wins this season.

Forrest, who is in his junior year at the University of San Diego, was also named in the All-WCC top team as he capped a great week. Along with James Ross from Royal Burgess, the Craigielaw player has just been picked to represent Europe in this year’s Palmer Cup.

The college equivalent of the Ryder Cup, it is being held in June at Walton Heath, where Andrew Coltart will captain the home team.

Forrest and Ross also have the chance of donning GB&I colours later in the year after being named in the squad for the St Andrews Trophy in Sweden.

“I’m delighted with making both squads, especially the Palmer Cup,” Forrest, Scotland’s top-ranked amateur, told the Edinburgh Evening News from America. “After my recent win at Chambers Bay, I knew I had a more realistic chance of making the team; before that I felt like I was just outside.

“It is a great honour to be selected for such a prestigious event as well as being the first USD player to make the team and I am really looking forward to it.”

So, too, is Ross, who has already helped Europe win the Bonallack Trophy this year with a victory over Asia-Pacific in India.

“What an honour to be picked to represent Europe in such a prestigious event as the Palmer Cup,” said last year’s Scottish Amateur Golfer of the Year of an event named after Arnold Palmer.

“I have known about the event for a few years now and it had always been a goal of mine to make the team. To have actually achieved that in my final year at Houston is very exciting and I can’t wait to get to Walton Heath for the matches.

“I’m sure that some friends and family will be there to watch, which will make it even more special.”

While the domestic campaign is now starting to crank up, neither Forrest nor Ross will be available for the Lothians in next month’s Scottish Area Team Championship.

Lothians face Northumberland away on Sunday in a match that will prove pivotal for ATC selection and a series of trial matches have opened the door for some new blood.

Scott McCandless, for instance, is Bathgate’s new rising star and he has earned a spot in the 12-man side heading for Northumberland Golf Club for an annual friendly.

It also includes Richard Gill, who was a Craigmillar Park member when he reached the final of the Scottish Boys’ Championship in 2001, but is now at Tantallon.

“The trial matches are very important for us and they have allowed us to try out various new squad members, including Richard Gill, Duncan Martin, Scott McCandless, Thomas Beattie and even our Lothians champion, Alan Anderson,” said Lothians captain Keith Reilly. “These matches as well as our squad get-togethers at Kingsfield over the winter with Dean Robertson allow us to build up a strong squad of players with a great team spirit and all of these games and work are aimed towards the Area Team Championship.”

Team to face Northumberland: Benn McLeod (Musselburgh), Graham Robertson (Silverknowes), Anthony Blaney (Liberton), Steven Armstrong (Turnhouse), Stephen Simants (Dunbar), Craig Deerness (Harburn), Jordyn Rhind (Kingsfield), Richard Gill (Tantallon), Scott McCandless (Bathgate), Mark Timmins (Pumpherston), Keith Nicholson (Haddington), Sean McGarvey (Dunbar).