Grant Forrest off to another flying start with a 66 in Mauritius

Lothians player feels ‘things are falling into place’

Thursday, 5th December 2019, 9:06 pm
Updated Thursday, 5th December 2019, 9:10 pm
Grant Forrest opened with a six-under-par 66 to share the lead in the AfrAsia Bank Mauritius Open as Connor Syme, David Law and Calum Hill also started brightly

For the second week in a row on the European Tour, Lothians star Grant Forrest produced a flying start to share the lead after the opening round of the AfrAsia Bank Mauritius Open.

On a good day for the Scottish contingent at Heritage Golf Club, Connor Syme, David Law and Calum Hill also made their presence felt on the leaderboard in the second event of the new season.

Forrest, who opened with a 68 to sit close to the lead in the Alfred Dunhill Championship at Leopard Creek last week before ending up in a tie for 55th, carded a six-under-par 66 on this occasion.

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The 26-year-old sparked his effort with three straight birdies after starting from the tenth and added an eagle and three more birdies. “I made a long putt on my first hole - probably 45-50 foot - so that’s always a good way to start the round,” said the North Berwick man.

“Couple of nice birdies, a bogey on the 13th (his fourth) and chipped in for eagle on the 14th (his fifth). A bit of an up and down start, but it’s good to get out of the blocks quickly.”

Forrest shares the lead with French pair Benjamin Hebert and Romain Langasque, South African Brandon Stone, the 2018 Aberdeen Standard Investments Scottish Open champion, and Dane Rasmus Hojgaard.

“The par-5s are key, they are all reachable,” added the former Scottish Amateur champion. “The second is the one that is playing the longest into the wind, but you can still reach in two.

“You get the tee shots away there and there are really good chances, so you need to make the most of them.”

Forrest spent some time in Dubai working with his new coach, Liam James, to get himself ready for the new season, having comfortably held on to his card in his rookie campaign.

“The game is getting there,” he said. “We’ve done a lot of work over the past few months and it’s been a bit of a struggle on the golf course but we’re starting to see signs now.

“I had a great start to the tournament last week as well. It’s been encouraging the last little while and things are falling into place.”

Syme, who marked his return to the top circuit by tying for 11th spot in the Alfred Dunhill Championship, maintained his promising start to the new campaign with a round that contained seven birdies.

The Fifer sits in a share of 15th spot alongside Law, last year’s Vic Open winner, and Hill, who earned his step up from the Challenge Tour along with Syme. Law made his score with a burst of five birdies in eight holes on the front nine while Hill made the last of his five birdies at the par-5 18th.

Paul Lawrie, who is making a rare appearance on the European Tour since joining the senior ranks, opened with a one-under 71, as did David Drysdale.