Grant Forrest holds off James Morrison charge to win first European Tour title

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Scotland’s Grant Forrest held off a brilliant challenge from England’s James Morrison to win his first European Tour title in the Hero Open.

Forrest birdied the last two holes at Fairmont St Andrews to finish 24 under par and a shot ahead of Morrison, who had set the clubhouse target following a superb 63.

A final round of 66 means Forrest is the first Scottish player to win on home soil since former Open champion Paul Lawrie won the Johnnie Walker Championship at Gleneagles in 2012.

The 28-year-old began the day tied for the lead with compatriot Calum Hill, who moved two shots clear with birdies on the third and fifth and an eagle on the par-five sixth.

However, Forrest recovered from a bogey on the second with birdies on the third, fourth, sixth and eighth to close within a shot before Hill surprisingly three-putted the ninth from 12 feet.

Hill’s bid for a first European Tour title suffered an even bigger blow on the next when he followed a pulled drive by hitting his second shot into a gorse bush.

The 26-year-old eventually signed for a double-bogey six and with playing partner Forrest making a birdie on the same hole, Forrest suddenly enjoyed a three-shot lead.

A birdie on the 11th briefly took Forrest four shots ahead, but the chasing pack had certainly not given up hope and Morrison made five birdies in a row from the 11th to get within a shot of the lead.

Forrest’s three-putt bogey on the 16th dropped him back into a tie for the lead and moments later Morrison birdied the 18th edge in front, but Forrest responded with a superb tee shot to three feet to set up a birdie on the 17th and then two-putted the par-five 18th for another to seal victory.

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