Grant Forrest has raised hopes of a first home winner at the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship for 18 years but he’s praying he doesn’t face Armageddon at Carnoustie on Saturday.
The 30-year-old from North Berwick followed up an opening 65 at Kingsbarns with a 67 at St Andrews to sit on 12 under and only a shot behind leader Matt Fitzpatrick.
Colin Montgomerie was the last Scot to win the Dunhill Links when he triumphed in 2005 with Stephen Gallacher (2004) and Paul Lawrie (2001) also among the former winners.
Forrest, who claimed his maiden DP World Tour win in the Hero Open at Fairmont St Andrews in 2021, would love to celebrate another victory at the Home of Golf.
On playing at St Andrews, he said: “You can’t put your finger on it.
“There’s just something about St Andrews as a place.
“It’s just special. You walk around it and you’re on the course.
“There is just so much history. It is just a great place.”
But before Forrest can set his sights on the final round at St Andrews on Sunday he has to navigate Carnoustie – with wet and windy conditions expected.
He said: “I was at Carnoustie last year on the Friday (when the weather was bad) and managed to come out OK.
“We’ll see – it could be Armageddon again but you just have to deal with what’s in front of you on the day.”
Grant Forrest and Nacho Elvira are making a push for the sole #dunhilllinks lead by the end of today's second round.
— Alfred Dunhill Links Championship (@dunhilllinks) October 6, 2023
Forrest’s round at the Old Course included five birdies, an eagle and two bogeys.
He added: “I started on10 and made three quite good pars to start off.
“It was a little bit scrappy but after that I played really nicely.
“I had a great eagle on 14 when I hit it to 20 feet and made that.
“That got the round going.
“I was stuck right up against the Road Hole bunker on 17 and I managed to get it out but I could have made a number there.
“I left a few out there but overall it was a good day.”
After the madness of last week’s Ryder Cup in Rome, Fitzpatrick is enjoying a more serene week at the Dunhill Links.
At Kingsbarns, he made birdies at four of his last five holes on his way to a round of 64 following his opening 67 at Carnoustie to lead Forrest and Nacho Elvira by a shot.
In the team event, Fitzpatrick is playing alongside mum Susan who, despite playing with a brace on her leg, contributed four birdies and an eagle to a score of 58 as the pair moved into second on 22 under, a shot behind Julien Guerrier and Stephane Connery.
He said: “I felt like we really enjoyed it out there. We both like the golf course, Kingsbarns.
“It is a very relaxed atmosphere. Compared to Carnoustie, you can kind of coast a little bit more.
“Of the three, I do like Kingsbarns. I just think it’s the most enjoyable with the views, the whole design.
“It would be great (to win). I think I said it last year, I just want to make the cut with Mum and do well for the team and you never know what can happen.”
— DP World Tour (@DPWorldTour) October 6, 2023
Defending champion Ryan Fox is well-placed in tied sixth on nine under ahead of playing the Old Course on Saturday.
Perthshire’s Calum Hill is tied 16th on seven under after a 67 at Carnoustie and a 70 at Kingsbarns. Glaswegian Scott Jamieson is tied 30th on five under with Aberdeen’s David Law and Nairn’s Sandy Scott one shot back in tied 40th position.
Ahead of playing the Old Course, Oban’s Robert MacIntyre sits three under, alongside Ewen Ferguson and Connor Syme, while Inverness’ Rory Franssen is among those on two under.