Haddington golfer Grant Forrest has Open spot in his sights at end of 'good season'

He’s landed a breakthrough European Tour win, sits in the world’s top 200 for the first time in his career and is among three Scots in a 53-man field for this week’s DP World Tour Championship in Dubai.

By Martin Dempster
Wednesday, 17th November 2021, 12:38 pm
Updated Wednesday, 17th November 2021, 12:39 pm
Grant Forrest, right, and caddie John McClure are hoping for a strong finish to the season in this week's DP World Tour Championship in Dubai. Picture: Bounce Sport
Grant Forrest, right, and caddie John McClure are hoping for a strong finish to the season in this week's DP World Tour Championship in Dubai. Picture: Bounce Sport

No wonder Grant Forrest’s evaluation is that it’s “been a good season”, but there’s still a chance that it could get even better for the 28-year-old Haddington-based golfer.

In just his third full campaign on the main circuit, Forrest currently sits 38th in the Race to Dubai, with the top 30 securing exemptions for next year’s 150th Open in St Andrews.

Bob MacIntyre’s spot in that celebratory occasion is already secured through his top-10 finish at Royal St George’s this year, with Calum Hill also on course to be part of a special week through currently lying 25th in the Race to Dubai.

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“I’ve not really looked at what has to happen and what I need to do,” said Forrest of his bid to tie down a third Open appearance, this one at the venue where he won the St Andrews Links Trophy in 2014.

“It’s one of those events as well where everyone is picking up points, so you really need to be in the top 10 to start making a jump on guys who are ahead of you. We are not trying to do anything different, just going out playing and seeing where we stand at the end of the week.”

Forrest finished 94th in the Race to Dubai in his rookie season in 2019 before climbing to 72nd last year. Helped by winning the Hero Open at Fairmont St Andrews in August, he’s set to make a significant leap no matter what happens over the next four days on the Earth Course at Jumeirah Golf Estates.

“You just try and get better every year,” he replied to being asked if he was happy with his progress, having turned pro in 2016. “You look back, it seems to have been a steady progression every year.

“It doesn’t feel like that because golf is full of ups and downs, but you have to look long term. I’m going in the right direction every year.”

While ready for a rest after a season that has “felt like a pretty long one”, Forrest admits that it’s an exciting time to be a European golfer at his age on the back of last week’s announcement about the rebranded DP World Tour in 2022.

“It’s a big opportunity for all of us,” he said of the circuit boasting a record prize pot of more than $200 million. “Not that you’d ever want to lose your card, but this was the year you really didn’t want to lose it. We’ll have more opportunities, we’ll be playing for more money, so it’s an exciting time.”

Forrest said it was “great” to see fellow Scot David Drysdale hang on to his full card for the 18th consecutive season as the last man in on the rankings cut-off. But, while hoping for similar longevity, Forrest smiled when asked if he’d be happy to still be out on tour at 46 before declaring: “I hope not!”

MacIntyre, who is making his third appearance, and debutant Hill at the others flying the Saltire in the Rolex Series event in Dubai.

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