World rankings surprise for Grant Forrest

Grant Forrest has decided against turning professional. Picture: Jan Kruger/Getty Images
Grant Forrest has decided against turning professional. Picture: Jan Kruger/Getty Images
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IT WASN’T exactly a case of Grant Forrest seeing the world come crashing down around him. Nonetheless, it was a shock for the Craigielaw player when his name was missing from the official global amateur rankings last week.

Even more so that it was announced on the World Amateur Golf Rankings website that he’d turned professional.

That had, indeed, been the plan for Forrest after capping a glittering amateur career by helping Great Britain & Ireland to a Walker Cup win at Royal Lytham last month.

For the time being, though, the 22-year-old has decided to stay in the amateur ranks along with the two other Scots in that team, Ewen Ferguson and Jack McDonald.

“It was a mistake that my name was taken down from the world rankings,” said Forrest. “I phoned them last Friday to tell them I was still in amateur and I’m glad to see my name back up on this week’s list.”

Sitting 37th, to be precise, which is a spot below Ferguson and five above McDonald as Scottish golf enters its new amalgamated era with three players riding high in the top 50 in the men’s game.

“I was planning on being ready to turn pro but things have changed a bit,” said Forrest, referring to the fact he fell at the first hurdle last week in the three-stage European Tour Qualifying School. “My game hasn’t been good enough, so I don’t see the point turning pro when I’ve not progressed in the Tour School. “I’ll get more opportunities as an amateur than I would if I was relying on invitations or playing on third-tier tour like the EuroPro so I’d much rather stay amateur.

“When you get to the pro game it is a different altogether and, if you are bit low on confidence and your game isn’t sharp enough, then you are going to get found out.”

Forrest, who finished a four-year stint at the University of San Diego back in June, is aiming to use winter trips he can look forward to as part of the Scotland squad to get back firing on all cylinders for the 2016 campaign.

“I knew that I had that to fall back on,” admitted the former Scottish Amateur champion. “It’s going to be great as I’ve never had the chance to go to Abu Dhabi, Australia or South Africa on these SGU trips so I’m really looking forward to that.

“It will give me a good chance to work on my game over the winter. Abu Dhabi will be first up for me, though I might go out to Arizona in October for some practice.”

Meanwhile, Scottish Open qualifier Calum Hill is settling in at his new American college, Oregon State, after moving there after two successful years at the University of Louisiana at Monroe.

“I love it here,” said the Tantallon teenager. “The whole atmosphere is more professional and the whole uni revolves around sport. There’s a great schedule, too, with lots of opportunities.”

Oregon State coach John Reehorn is delighted to have Hill on his programme, saying: “We are extremely excited and lucky to have added a player of Calum’s calibre.

“In addition to his on-course success at ULM, which includes qualifying for the Scottish Open on the European Tour this summer, Calum brings a strong work ethic, passion for the game of golf and a strong desire to be part of a successful team and push those around him to be better.

“I would imagine there will be a bit of an adjustment 
period to a new environment, but I know Calum is excited to hit the ground running and help our team compete at a high level.”