Betfred British Masters: Grant Forrest out to build on second top-ten European Tour finish
Grant Forrest is relishing his first event on British soil as a European Tour card holder after producing some “proper golf” to chalk up his second top-ten finish on the circuit.
The Lothians star is part of a ten-strong Scottish contingent in the field for this week’s Betfred British Masters, which is being hosted by local lad Tommy Fleetwood at Hillside in Southport.
Forrest is looking forward to a return to links golf, especially after receiving confirmation that his game is in good shape after finishing joint-sixth in the Trophee Hassan II in Morocco less than a fornight ago.
“I didn’t play great the first day, but I made a nice birdie on the last that gave me a bit of momentum going into the Friday, when I played brilliantly,” said the 25-year-old Craigielaw player.
“It was a tough day, but I shot a pretty easy three-under that day and I also got the putter going as well. It was great to get in that positon, and though the back nine didn’t go the way I wanted on the Sunday, it was good to be in the mix and gain experience from that.
“When you are playing well, things like the setback (a double-bogey at the ninth) don’t bother you as much because you know that you are going to have birdie chances.
“Therefore, what happened didn’t really bother me at all. I gave myself a lot of chances on the back nine but, unfortunately, the putts just didn’t go in.
“It was a good experience all around as I was feeling good about my game and also felt pretty relaxed in that last round.
“It definitely whets your appetite and hopefully I can get back in that position again sooner rather than later. It’s quite a busy spell coming up and hopefully I can keep my foot on the pedal over the next few months.”
Forrest led four Scots in graduating from the Challenge Tour last season and is happy to be sitting inside the top 75 in the Race to Dubai after his first 12 events on the main Tour.
“I wouldn’t say that I have been surprised by the standard on the European Tour compared to the Challenge Tour. If you can be at the top of the Challenge Tour, you can do it out here, but it is obviously better.
“I think the biggest difference I have found is the golf courses. That one in Morocco, for instance, was tough, as evidenced by the fact the cut was four-over. That says a lot about the golf course.
“It was really tough and you had to play proper golf. Quite a lot of the Challenge Tour courses are quite wideopen with no rough. It doesn’t really reward you as much for being good off the tee, accurate or long or both.
“That sort of course is a true measure of where your game is. You can’t fake it. I don’t know if you’d want to play a course like that every week as it is a bit of a grind. But, at the same time, I think you need that every now and again, as a measure of where your game is.”
While this week’s venue is a new one for the vast majority of players in the field, Forrest played here in the 2011 Amateur Championship.
“It is always nice playing a links tournament as it’s not something we get to do very often,” he said. “It was nice to jump in a car to get to a tournament as opposed to taking a long-haul flight.
“That event in 2011 was the first Amateur Championship I had played but, to be honest, I don’t remember it too well as I didn’t make the match-play. I only really remember the first hole.
“It is great to see a European Tour event at a place like this. We have so many great links courses in the UK that a lot of people don’t really know about in comparison to the ones on The Open rota.”