HOME golfer Grant Forrest is aiming for more than simply making the cut at the Scottish Open this weekend.

This year’s tournament, which is co-sanctioned by the DP World Tour and PGA Tour for the first time, is likely to be among the toughest ever played in the competition’s history.

Nine of the top 10 golfers in the world are teeing off at The Renaissance Club this morning (Thursday) as they look to follow in the footsteps of last year’s winner Min Woo Lee.

Forrest, of Haddington, who won his maiden tournament on the European Tour last season, is no stranger to the event, having competed in each of the last three years.

He said: “I’ve always made the cut in this event, but I’m also always looking at more than that in any event, let alone my home national championship.

“The win at Fairmont, St Andrews last year was a great experience, and to get myself in a good position where I am genuinely competing on Sunday afternoon would be very special.

“These are the kind of opportunities that we practice for, so I want to give myself the best chance to perform well, especially in front of a home crowd.”

East Lothian Courier: Grant Forrest savoured his first-ever win on the European Tour and will be looking to impress at The Scottish Open. Picture: Ian Rutherford/PA WireGrant Forrest savoured his first-ever win on the European Tour and will be looking to impress at The Scottish Open. Picture: Ian Rutherford/PA Wire

East Lothian has held the prestigious tournament for the last four years in a row, with The Renaissance Club hosting it since 2019.

Forrest made his debut that year and took a share of 43rd spot before finishing in a tie for 19th the following year. He again made the cut last year and finished in a tie for 73rd spot.

The 29-year-old told Courier Sport: “The Renaissance Club is where I practice, and I love it there.

“The facilities are superb, and they have made huge improvements to the course for this year, so it will be really interesting to see how these work out, and how the field deals with this.”

Already this season, Forrest has enjoyed five top-50 finishes on the DP World Tour, including a share of ninth spot at the Soudal Open in Belgium, as he looks to build on his success in the Hero Open last term.

The Scottish Open, which has been decided by a play-off in each year at The Renaissance Club, is the final tournament before The Open at St Andrews next week.

East Lothian Courier: Fellow Scottish golfer Calum Hill congratulated Grant Forrest in a memorable first European Tour success. Picture: Ian Rutherford/PA WireFellow Scottish golfer Calum Hill congratulated Grant Forrest in a memorable first European Tour success. Picture: Ian Rutherford/PA Wire

Forrest was counting down to teeing off in the county and said: “It’s not only one of the biggest events of the year for me personally, but it’s also one of the biggest events on the DP World Tour as well and, as it now forms part of both the DP World Tour and the PGA Tour, the event is getting even bigger.

“To have the strength of field that we have this week in East Lothian is quite incredible.

“This is going to be a special week for the players and the fans, and (with a little luck with the weather!) it will hopefully make the event even more well-supported than it normally is.”

The tournament also has one major benefit for Forrest, who played golf at the University of San Diego.

East Lothian Courier: Grant Forrest savoured his first-ever win on the European Tour and will be looking to impress at The Scottish Open. Picture: Ian Rutherford/PA WireGrant Forrest savoured his first-ever win on the European Tour and will be looking to impress at The Scottish Open. Picture: Ian Rutherford/PA Wire

While the rigours of the DP World Tour will take him to many countries across the world, the East Lothian tournament offers him the chance to be somewhere more familiar.

He said: “I stay at home and it does make a difference as you are able to keep very close to your normal daily routine. I have all my friends and family around me and that helps a lot both off the course when I am preparing and relaxing, and also on the course when they are all there to support each day.”