DORNOCH, Scotland (Aug. 3, 2012) -- Grant Forrest of Craigielaw and Bearsden’s Richard Docherty will contest tomorrow’s 36-hole final of the Scottish Amateur Championship, their games shining as brightly as the weather on a fabulous day by the Dornoch Firth.
Forrest, promoted to the SGU National Men’s Squad in 2012, continued his superb form to crush the hopes of Lewis Mutch (Duff House Royal) in a 4&3 win and stay on course for a third national title.
Meanwhile, Docherty, a surprise package this week who has recently finished a four-year degree in America, ended the gallant hopes of local favourite Bryan Fortheringham with a two-hole success in a match that ebbed and flowed.
The pair are now bidding to emulate David Law after his triumph at Western Gailes last year and also follow in the footsteps of previous Scottish Amateur winners at Royal Dornoch – Dean Robertson (1993) and Steven O’Hara (2000).
Like his morning win over Fraser Moore form Glenbervie, Forrest – who returns to his studies at the University of San Diego next month – was always in control against Mutch, two years his junior.
Forrest was three up after six holes following two birdies and a Mutch concession at the fourth, but was pulled back to a two-hole advantage at the turn.
A par at the 11th restored Forrest’s three-hole lead and, after exchanges at the 12th and 13th, the East Lothian player pitched to four feet for birdie at the 15th to close out the tie. Forrest has not needed to play the closing three holes in his last four wins to illustrate the quality of his play.
The 19-year-old, bidding to add the Scottish Amateur crown to his Scottish Under-16s and Scottish Boys’ titles, said: “It’s great to reach the final. It’s a little bit surreal as when you are in the Boys the Men’s seems such a level up, but I’ve managed to do it.
“A lot of the top amateurs turned pro last year so it is more open now. I felt prepared coming up here and I just want to keep hitting fairways, which is so important given the course is drying out in the sun.”
Forrest endured family anguish just over three weeks ago, losing his dad, Graeme, to cancer. It’s made his achievement in the north all the more noteworthy, and his semi-final triumph today came, poignantly, on what would have been his late father’s birthday.
On-course support from his mum, Audrey, and little sister, Alisa, has helped hugely, as has his caddy, the Royal Dornoch member and fellow Boys cap Calum Stewart. “We are all staying with Calum in Brora and it’s been nice,” added Forrest. “He is a regular caddie here, pretty much full-time in the summer, and he’s been really positive.”
Docherty, 22, was involved in the topsy-turvy second semi-final, with 34-year-old Fotheringham holding a two-hole lead after five holes. But the pendulum soon swung as Fotheringham made “a succession of errors” to lose five holes and find himself three down after 11.
A par at the 12th and a birdie at the next saw the gap closed to only one for the Forres stalwart, but bogeys at the 14th and 15th allowed Docherty to go dormie three. Still, Fortheringham refused to throw in the towel, taking 16 and 17 with pars, before Docherty arrowed a wedge to eight feet at the last to finally seal victory.
Docherty has played college golf in America for the last four years while completing a degree in education at Lindenwood, St Louis in May.
Playing out of Bearsden, where he is club champion, but also attached to Windyhill, Richard is enjoying his best-ever week as a full-time amateur, aided by the support of his parents.
“This is the best achievement I’ve ever had,” said Docherty, whose best finish this year is 25th at the Newlands Trophy. “I’ve played good golf tee to green all year but struggled with my putting and a niggling back injury. I feel I’m as good as anybody tee to green.”
Continuing the current success for Bearsden golf, with Ewen Ferguson runner-up in the Scottish Boys Stroke Play last week, as well as winning the Munster Boys U18s, and Cameron Kirkwood a talented Scottish Golf Academy member, Docherty will chase glory tomorrow.
Fotheringham and Mutch both picked up bronze medals for their superb efforts. The final is played tomorrow at 8.30am and 1pm.