Lothians star Grant Forrest has started his European Tour career on a promising note with the help of a Capital connection with his caddie.
Scott Carmichael, an Edinburgh man who is a member at Baberton, has been on Forrest’s bag for the past 12 months.
In fact, it was exactly a year to the week that they joined forces as the 25-year-old finished joint-seventh on Sunday in the AfrAsia Bank Mauritius Open.
That was Forrest’s first top-10 finish on the circuit, coming in his 16th start in total but only his second since becoming a new card holder this season.
“My partnership with Scott is going well with Scott,” Forrest told the Evening News as he reflected on a performance that left him sitting 15th in the 2019 Race to Dubai.
Carmichael caddied for his Baberton club-mate Paul Ferrier when he was one of Scotland’s leading amateurs a few years ago. One of the events the pair joined forces was the 2011 Scottish Amateur Championship at Western Gailes – an event Forrest also played in.
Since becoming a full-time looper, Carmichael has worked for Dane Mads Vibe-Hastrup, Sweden Pontus Widegren and Englishman Nathan Kimsey.
“He’s got to know my game. He’s in touch with it now and that really helps,” added Forrest of the duo’s burgeoning on-course relationship.
Forrest and Carmichael have now moved on to South Africa for a double-header before the circuit shuts down for Christmas and New Year.
First up is this week’s South African Open at Glendower in Johannesburg then it’s the Alfred Dunhill Championship at Leopard Creek.
“I played the Joburg Open last year and it’s the same two courses this week,” said Forrest. “I also played at Leopard Creek a few years ago but they’ve changed it, so it will be new for everyone.
“I will hopefully keep playing well and another top 10 would be really nice going into Christmas.”
It’s unlikely that Forrest will get into the first two events in the new year – the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship and the Omega Dubai Desert Classic.
That being the case, the more Race to Dubai points he can pick up over the night fortnight the better and he certainly looks at home in his new workplace.
“The more experience you get, the more you feel confident about going out and treating every tournament the same,” said the Challenge Tour graduate.
“Playing on the European Tour is nothing new. I think that’s the main thing for me to think about going into events. It’s a lot of the same players that I have played against over the past few years.
“It is just a case of trying to play well every time you tee it up and, at this time of the season when the events are co-sanctioned, meaning the fields are maybe not as strong as full European Tour events later in the season, you have to try and take advantage of that.”
He certainly did so in Mauritius, where the player who works with Jonathan Porteous, the PGA pro at Craigielaw, was particularly pleased with his short game.
“That was really good last week,” he said. “My bunker play especially was good, as it was in Hong Kong as well. That made a few par saves a lot less stressful.
“I was chipping it in the three-foot range and that makes life a lot easier when you are not constantly having to hole putts for par.
“It was a course where there was always going to be birdie chances but it was equally important to not drop shots and my short game helped me a lot with that.”