The Open 2014

13th-20th July

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The Open: Local amateur Grant Forrest defends Muirfield set-up

Last Updated: 18/07/13 8:58pm

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Grant Forrest: Strong finish salvaged an opening 73

Grant Forrest: Strong finish salvaged an opening 73

Scottish Amateur champion Grant Forrest insisted Muirfield had been set up fairly after returning a creditable two-over 73 in the first round of the Open Championship.

The 20-year-old, who lives just a mile up the road in North Berwick, had fond memories of his Open debut in the company of 1998 champion Mark O'Meara and Australian Marcus Fraser.

Forrest was in danger of letting the round get away from him after he bogeyed 10, 13 and 14 to slip to four over, but he battled back admirably to birdie the next two before parring in.

The likes of Phil Mickelson and Ian Poulter were openly critical about the course set-up and pin placements on the first day, but Forrest had no complaints.

"It's been a while since I've seen a course this fast and firm, but this is how it used to be and this is how it's designed to be played," said Forrest, who came through local final qualifying.

"It was a bit of a battle out there. I had a couple of bad breaks in bunkers but then also I had a couple of good breaks so I definitely would have taken it at the start of the day.

"It was really tough out there but I'd like to thank Mark and Marcus, who made it enjoyable and made me feel comfortable out there.

"Hopefully teeing off in the morning there will be a bit of moisture on the greens and they might play a bit easier."

Sheffield's Matthew Fitzpatrick, the youngest player in the field at 18, matched Forrest's 73 but they are both behind Jimmy Mullen in the race for the Silver Medal for leading amateur as the North Devon 19-year-old, who was two under at the turn, finished even par.

But last year's US Amateur champion Steven Fox posted seven over while Pontypridd's Rhys Pugh finished with a 13-over 84.

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