Grant Forrest up for the Challenge in Aviemore

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Grant Forrest finished with a flourish in last year’s SSE Scottish Challenge and is now looking to come flying out of the blocks in the Aviemore event.

The Lothians star is one of the leading home hopes in the £220,000 tournament, which gets underway tomorrow at Macdonald Spey Valley.

Forrest was still making a name for himself in the amateur ranks when he made his Challenge Tour debut in this event in 2015, finishing joint-48th. He was still in the non-paid ranks when missing the cut the following year before marking his first appearance in it as a professional by finishing joint-21st 12 months ago.

The Craigielaw player closed with a 65 on that occasion, signing off in style by rolling in a 50-foot birdie putt.

It’s been onwards and upwards for Forrest ever since on the European Tour’s development circuit and he’s a man on form heading into the event’s tenth anniversary at the Highlands venue.

Twice in recent weeks, he’s been denied a maiden Challenge Tour victory in play-offs, losing to compatriot Liam Johnston in one and Welshman Stuart Manley in the other.

Those efforts have lifted Forrest to seventh in the Road to Ras Al Khaimah rankings and he said: “I’m in a good position and it’s about trying to keep my performances to a high level for the rest of the season. I’m now really looking forward to this week’s event as it is always one of the best on the schedule.”

Among those joining Forrest in bidding to land a home victory this weekend are Duncan Stewart, Chris Doak, Danny Kay, Gareth Wright and John Gallagher, the latter having shot a five-under 67 at this week’s venue in winning a new qualifier for the event.