Victory sees Grant Forrest climb up rankings

Grant Forrest. Pic: Steven Scott Taylor

Grant Forrest. Pic: Steven Scott Taylor

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Lothians amateur ace Grant Forrest is closing in on a place in the world’s top 50.

It follows the Craigielaw 20-year-old claiming his third victory on the US college circuit since signing up for San Diego University.

Forrest, the 2012 Scottish Amateur champion, is 72nd in the latest World Amateur Golf Rankings – 31 spots higher than the next best Scot, Bradley Neil.

But he is set to climb even higher after winning The Farms Collegiate Invitational in Rancho Sante Fe in a play-off.

“The points for yesterday’s event won’t go in till next week, so hopefully I’ll move up some more,” Forrest told the Edinburgh Evening News.

He shot rounds of 67, 72 and 71 for ten-under-par total, which was matched by Kennesaw State’s Jimmy Beck after he birdied the last for a closing 70.

“I had been playing well in the lead up to the tournament and felt well prepared after staying here over the Christmas break,” added Forrest.

“We played four qualifying rounds on the course so got plenty of practice and knowing where the pins were going to be helped a lot, too.

“I got off to a fast start, being six-under through 11 holes in the first round. From then on it was a mixed bag.”

The former Scottish Boys’ champion was recruited for San Diego by Tim Mickelson, Phil’s brother.

He went on: “It was a bit shaky down the stretch, and I three-putted putted from 20 feet on the 16th to cut my lead to one.

“I then parred the last and my playing partner, who was in second, made a birdie so we went to a play-off.

“I hit a good 4-iron to the middle of the green on the par 5 to set up an eagle opportunity, while my opponent chipped on to four feet for birdie.

“I two-putted and he missed his putt, so it was my day,” he added.

Forrest was West Coast Conference Freshman of the Year in 2012 before winning the WCC Championship last year.

He’s shaping up to be Scotland’s best hope of a Walker Cup pick for next year’s match at Royal Lytham.