Lothians star Grant Forrest is aiming to make up for lost time as he makes his first appearance for more than a month due to a back injury.
“It’s been there for a wee while, having flared up the week after the KPMG Trophy in Belgium in the middle of June,” said the 24-year-old as he prepared to tee up in this week’s Irish Challenge at Mount Wolseley in County Carlow.
“I was trying to play through it and managed to finish just outside the top 20 in my next two events, but that wasn’t possible in the end.
“It got pretty sore a month ago, so I decided to do something about it. That meant taking a few weeks off to try and get ready for both the Irish Challenge and next week’s Kazakhstan Open.”
In his first full season in the paid ranks, Forrest had been giving an excellent account of himself. He’s chalked up two top-five finishes and just missed out on making it into the top 20 in two other events.
“When it’s your back, it’s not really something that you can play through,” he added. “It’s not like when Tiger Woods hurt his knee. Yes, he was in agony but he could still hit balls.
“With your back, you try and do other things to try and compensate and you only end up running the risk of making things worse.
“I saw Andrew Murray, the European Tour doctor, and at that point I’d already cut things back to chipping and putting. I had an MRI and, fortunately, there’s nothing sinister. It’s just a case of getting some physio and then building things back up slowly.
“I’ve gradually been getting back to 100 per cent and hopefully over the next couple of weeks I will reap the benefits of the break.
“There are still a few events to come, including some with big points, so there’s still a long way to go for me this season in that respect. I’m hoping to finish the Challenge Tour campaign strongly and there’s also the European Tour Qualifying School as well, of course.”
The Craigielaw ace will enter that at the second stage as he bids to improve on his encouraging effort in a first visit to the final at the end of last year.
“If the season stopped now, I’d have a better Challenge Tour category next year than I have this season,” said Forrest, who has just been joined in the Bounce Sport management stable by Walker Cup player Bob MacIntyre. “I’d probably get 10 events from that and have invitations as well so, as a worst-case scenario, I can just about play a full season next year.
“I’m obviously trying to better that, though, so that’s why I’m hoping to be fully fit for the final few months of the season.
“I had been considering playing on the MENA Tour this week, but then the opportunity to play in the Irish Challenge came about and I am excited to get back playing on the Challenge Tour a week earlier than planned.
“I know my body haS benefited from the short break but there is nothing that gets you motivated more than the chance to compete and I still feel that I can get a lot out of what is left of this season.”