Grant Forrest hopeful home players can get in mix in Genesis Scottish Open
Not since 1999, when Colin Montgomerie achieved the feat when the event was played under the Standard Life Loch Lomond banner, has the title fallen to a home player.
With eight of the world’s top ten teeing up at The Renaissance Club, where the $9 million Rolex Series event gets underway on Thursday, it’s a tough ask for the eight Scots in the field.
But there’s rarely been an event this season when at least one Saltire hasn’t been up near the top of a leaderboard and Forrest is hoping that trend continues on Scotland’s Golf Coast.
“There’s quite a few guys playing well,” he said of Ewen Ferguson and Calum Hill having been in then mix on the last day in the Betfred British Masters at The Belfry then Bob MacIntyre and Richie Ramsay both having a chance to win the Made in HimmerLand event in Denmark last Sunday. “There’s a lot of good players challenging every week and we are feeding off each other as well.”
Forrest, who has recorded four top-ten finishes himself this season, was pleased to secure one of just three invitations up for grabs in this week’s star-studded event.
“I wouldn’t have got in without an invite this year just because of where I finished last year, so I am delighted to be playing - home course, home Open,” said the East Lothian-based player.
“Although it is co-sanctioned, it is the Scottish Open and I think some of the invitations should definitely be going to Scottish guys and having the strong start to the season definitely helped.
“I probably would have felt a bit hard done by if I hadn’t been playing this week, but I am still delighted to get one of the three spots.”
In doing so, Forrest has one final chance to secure a berth in next week’s Open at Royal Liverpool, with three spots on offer to the leading non-exempt players on Sunday night.
“You are just trying to play well and, if that’s enough to get you in The Open, that’s an added bonus of having a good week,” he said. “This week is obviously the last chance to have a good week.”
The Renaissance Club is staging what is now a co-sanctioned event between the DP World Tour and PGA Tour for the fifth year in a row, with world No 1 Scottie Scheffler and third-ranked Rory McIlroy spearheading the line up on this occasion.
“They’ve done a lot of work and the course is getting better every year,” said Forrest. “I think that’s the beauty of the Renaissance Club. They really love having the tournament every year and having the same place every year is a good thing.
“They made a few changes for last year and they have bedded in now. There haven’t been any new additions for this year, but the weather dictates so much with links golf.
“Last year we had a strong prevailing wind all week. It was blowing an absolute hoolie at times whereas the first year we had soft conditions and no wind. Any course, especially any links course, is so vulnerable with benign conditions. That’s just part of playing golf in Scotland.”