Grant Forrest facing uphill task to make cut on home course at Scottish Open

Grant Forrest is facing an uphill task to make the cut for the fourth consecutive year on home turf at the Genesis Scottish Open, but is aiming to “pull on his scoring boots” in round two.

Thursday, 7th July 2022, 7:58 pm

To do that, the 29-year-old from Pencaitland will need to find a spark from his putter after a four-over-par opening round of 74 which leaves him well down the field after day one at The Renaissance Club near North Berwick.

It’s a course he knows like the back of his hand, but local knowledge was of little help on a frustrating day on the greens for the former Scottish Amateur champion. Nevertheless, he can take plenty of encouragement from his performance with the big stick.

“I didn’t play nearly as badly as I scored,” he said. “It’s tricky. I had a few dodgy lies in the rough, where it is hard to control your distance. My short game and putting wasn’t sharp enough to save me.

East Lothian local Grant Forrest tees off from the 10th on his way to a four-over-par opening round at The Renaissance Club. Picture: Paul Devlin / SNS

“It’s tough to get it close out there because of where the pins are and the breeze. If you’re not on the fairway, and even if you are, sometimes it is hard to get it close, so you are relying on making some long putts. But it is the best I’ve driven the ball for a long time, so I’ll take that into tomorrow and hopefully get my scoring boots on.”

Distance off the tee has never been an issue for Forrest and when he connects with his driver it is a sight to behold.

The downside it that it doesn’t take much to find trouble when the ball is travelling so far and when he started to leak a few of drives right on his inward nine, he was forced to scramble to keep his head above water.

He started steadily enough with four straight pars, but after a bogey on 14 – his fifth – he got into trouble with his second shot at the par 5 16th after opting to hit his driver from the deck. Squirting it right, he landed on a power cable in the rough behind a scoreboard and needed referee advice to get relief. He stayed calm and composed enough to save his par with a solid six-footer, but his slight slice would come back to haunt him later.

He turned two over par but collected his first birdie on the 600-yard third hole – his 12th – after a monster drive, clean approach and very well-judged 30-foot putt over a ridge to set up a six footer. He drained it, much to the delight of family and friends who were following him round.

Forrest said before this Rolex Series event that was looking for a “spark” to recapture his form after a quiet year so far. Just when he thought he had found it, though, his trusted driver let him down.

Two pushed tee shots into the rough yielded consecutive bogeys. Forrest slammed his club into the turf in the first visible sign of frustration and spilled another shot on the last when three-putting from the fringe to finish on a low.

To his credit, Forrest has been careful to manage expectations this week and is not putting too much pressure on himself. “You always want to do well in front of everyone and you feel you should perform,” he reflected. “But it’s different when you are under the gun and it is a top-class field this week. I’m just getting my head down and getting on with the job.”