Grant Forrest: Scotland's newest professional unfazed by compatriots' woes

Grant Forrest speaks to the media at this week's Alfred Dunhill Links Championship
Forrest faced media duties on Wednesday as he prepares for his first professional tournament

Scotland's newest professional golfer Grant Forrest is unfazed by his compatriots' lack of success as he bids to win a European Tour card next month.

Forrest, 23, turned professional last week and is making his debut at the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship.

Russell Knox, ranked 19, is the only Scot currently in the world's top 100, with only two more in the top 200.

"It is so competitive and there are only a limited amount of people who can be at the top," Forrest said.

"But I don't think you should be discouraged by that. The rewards are huge if you do make it to the top. It doesn't concern me too much."

Top 10 Scots in world rankings - as of 2/10/16
Russell Knox - ranked 19David Drysdale - 404
Martin Laird - 148Paul Lawrie - 445
Richie Ramsay - 177Scott Henry - 447
Marc Warren - 218Stephen Gallacher - 451
Duncan Stewart - 298 Scott Jamieson - 489

Forrest, from the Craigielaw club in East Lothian, has made the switch after an impressive amateur career, from winning the Scottish Boys Championship in 2010 to the Scottish Amateur Championship in 2012 and the prestigious St Andrews Links Trophy in 2014.

He qualified for the Open Championship at Muirfield in 2013, and reached the final of The Amateur Championship - featuring the world's best amateurs - at Carnoustie last year.

Forrest also won four times on the college circuit during his four years at the University of San Diego in the United States, including the Redhawk Invitational at 2015 US Open venue Chambers Bay.

"It was huge," he told BBC Scotland of his American experience. "Going to college sets you up for life, not just golf. There's loads of stuff you have to do on your own. It really helps you grow up as a person and stands you in good stead for the real world."

Forrest will need to be a hardy character in the world of professional golf.

Eddie Pepperell, an English golfer currently ranked 222 in the world, told BBC Sport last year about the loneliness of life on tour for the new professional.

"To succeed on tour, it's important to be good but it's infinitely more important to be tough," Pepperell recalled. "If you're not tough enough, you're going to fade away."

Grant Forrest plays a drive on the 16th at Kingsbarns as he prepares for the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship
Forrest played on Wednesday at Kingsbarns, which is used alongside St Andrews and Carnoustie for the Links Championship

Forrest has already shown restraint in delaying his entry into the paid ranks, after playing for Great Britain and Ireland in their Walker Cup victory over the United States last September.

"I wasn't playing quite as well as I thought I could, so I decided to stay amateur for one more year and then turn pro," he explained.

"I know it is extremely difficult. I see a lot of guys who are great amateurs come through and struggle.

"But I believe I can do it. If I keep putting in the hard work, the results will come.

"This week I am just trying to enjoy myself. I have got Tour School next month and hopefully I will walk out of that with a European Tour card, or at least a Challenge Tour card.

"But if not, I have got some invites set up for next year. I am just trying to get better day by day - that is all I can do."

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