ST. ANDREWS, Scotland (Aug. 1, 2013) -- Grant Forrest stayed on course to become the first player in 30 years to defend the Fairstone Scottish Amateur Championship, after two nail-biting victories to reach the quarter-finals.
If the Craigielaw man had enjoyed comfortable progress to round four at Blairgowrie, the 20-year-old’s mettle was tested to the limit today.
Forrest, the top seed who arrived in Perthshire fresh from a debut appearance at The Open, first showed great resolve to end the challenge of Royal Wimbledon’s Ryan Lumsden.
Remarkably playing extra holes for the first time competitively, Forrest holed a testing five-footer at the 19th before finally shrugging off the Anglo-Scot’s challenge with a 15-foot birdie at the 21st.
“I really got quite nervous, knowing you can’t make a mistake,” admitted the Craigielaw player, who had been three down to Lumsden after nine.“But going down the stretch gives you more experience and makes you a better player.”
It was the putter that again proved Forrest’s hero against Jamie Savage, a fellow SGU National Squad player in their last-16 tie. Having fluffed his chip at the 18th, he rolled in a 15-footer to avoid more extra holes. “I had a funny lie for the chip, with the grass growing against the ball, so it was nice to make the putt,” he added.
Forrest is seeking to emulate the late Cardross great Charlie Green, who last successfully defended the Scottish Amateur in 1983.
Intriguingly, Forrest’s next opponent is from Cardross, the three-time club champion Liam Halliday.
The 19-year-old outsider has reached the last-eight at Blairgowrie’s Lansdowne layout after ousting Scotland Boys cap Connor Syme by two holes.Halliday said: “I’m really chuffed as my previous best in this event was the first round.
“I won the Cardross club championship for the third time in a row at the weekend and I’m playing well. If the putts drop against Grant, I don’t see why I can’t win. It’s a tough task, but I’m up for it.”
Third seed Jack McDonald – he and Forrest are the only seeds left – meets Kirkhill’s Craig Ross in the quarter-finals, while Dunbar’s Alexander Culverwell faces Kyle McClung of Wigtownshire County in the last-eight.
McDonald, into the quarter-finals for the first time after seeing off another Craigielaw player, Greg Smail, by 3&2 said: “I’m playing really well and feel like I’m getting better as the week has gone on. I was four-under-par against Greg and the putts are starting to drop.”
Late in the day, Lundin’s James White emulated his quarter-final appearance of 2011 after a fine 4&3 success against Kingsknowe’s Allyn Dick.
The 25-year-old struggled at the start of the season after a wrist injury but has been finding his form in recent weeks to suggest a fifth Home Internationals appearance could be in the offing.
White and Dick traded 10 birdies between them in a superb match, before White made a 50-footer at the 15th for glory.
With wee brother Robbie on the bag, White has experienced a rollercoaster week, which featured 42 holes on Wednesday before two triumphs today.
Indeed, he took the scalp of one of Scotland’s Walker Cup hopefuls and fellow SGU Men’s Performance player Graeme Robertson in the morning by 2&1.
“I really like this course and have scored well here in the past,” admitted White, who faces Scotland Boys’ cap Ewen Ferguson of Bearsden in the last-eight after his win over David Mitchell (Leven Thistle).
“Over the last five or six weeks I’ve been happy with my form so I hope I can keep it going.”