Raymond Russell rooting for Grant Forrest

Grant Forrest, who turns 22 today, beat double 'European champ Ashley Chesters 4&3 in the 'Amateur Championship. Picture: Steven Scott Taylor
Grant Forrest, who turns 22 today, beat double 'European champ Ashley Chesters 4&3 in the 'Amateur Championship. Picture: Steven Scott Taylor
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European Tour winner Raymond Russell joined the Grant Forrest fan club after watching his fellow East Lothian man reach the last eight in the 120th Amateur Championship at Carnoustie.

Birthday boy Forrest – he turns 22 today – beat England’s double European champion Ashley Chesters 4&3 in the third round to join two compatriots, Jack McDonald and Greig Marchbank, in this morning’s quarter-finals at the Open Championship venue in Angus.

“I watched him for a few holes and was very impressed against probably one of the heavier hitters here in Ashley Chesters – it was a good scalp,” said Russell, who is attending the R&A event as a spectator, of the Craigielaw star.

“He looked very much in control of what he was doing on a tough golf course and in tough conditions.”

Forrest, winner of both the Scottish Boys and Scottish Amateur titles in the past, is now just three wins away from succeeding Bradley Neil and earning appearances in The Open, The Masters and US Open in the next 12 months.

“I’ve never met him but I knew about him,” said Russell, who hails from Prestonpans and played his amateur golf at Longniddry. “I’d heard about him from people in East Lothian and I also know he had a good record in the States.

“It looks as though Grant has a big future if he keeps doing exactly what he is doing.”

Forrest, who has just completed a four-year finance degree at the University of San Diego, was delighted to have kept his title bid on course, having earlier beaten another dangerous opponent in Icelander Gisli Sveinbergsson 3&1.

“They were two good wins,” he said. “I was a bit scrappy this afternoon, but you are never going to play pretty golf all week.”

He now plays Marchbank after the Thornhill player recovered from being two down at the turn to beat Finland’s Miki Kuronen.

Barassie ace McDonald, a semi-finalist at Troon three years ago, plays giant Englishman Sean Towndrow, who reached the same stage 12 months ago, in the last eight.

Pleased to see three Scots still standing, Russell, the 1996 Cannes Open winner, said: “It is nice walking round and seeing parents watching their kids and you think, ‘that’s what my mum and dad used to do’.

“It is nice to see the next wave of good players coming through and see how they go about their business.”

Russell is hoping to be playing on home soil next week. “I’m waiting to find out if I’m getting into the Scottish Hydro Challenge in Aviemore,” he said, being in need of an invitation.