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October 5, 2016

Grant Forrest

Ewen Ferguson

Carnoustie-Kingsbarns, Scotland

MICHAEL GIBBONS: Boys, welcome, Grant and Ewen. Obviously a big week for you both. Must be very exciting. If you can just give your thoughts. Looking forward to it?

GRANT FORREST: Yeah, obviously really excited to get the week going. Very grateful to the Dunhill Championship Committee for giving us an invite and just can't wait to get going and enjoy the week.

EWEN FERGUSON: Yeah, I'm really excited to play in my first European Tour event in Scotland, Home of Golf. Something I always wanted to do is play on The European Tour, but a European Tour event, against people that you look up to ask see on TV -- want to thank everyone at the Dunhill Championship Committee and Scottish golf for everything they have done so far.

I'm playing with Danny Willett at 11.50 if you want to come watch. I'm really looking forward to that, obviously all the hype after last week in The Ryder Cup, Masters Champion, so I'll try to pick his brain and see what I can learn from him and see what he does so well.

Q. Have you not got a practice partner?
GRANT FORREST: I'm not sure about today. I just played with a few Irish guys, Paul Dunne and Jack Hume on Monday and yesterday, a Walker Cup reunion.

Q. When you've just come out of amateur golf and you're coming on to links courses which are of course predominately what you play in amateur golf, is this quite a good way to ease you into your first professional event?
GRANT FORREST: I would say so. We played the Old Course every year in the links trophy and obviously played Carnoustie quite a bit last year in the Amateur Championship. So it really helps that they are all courses we are familiar with. It definitely helps ease into it.

Q. Can I ask you both who you've spoken to about this week, what the best bit of advice you've received coming into this event?
EWEN FERGUSON: Well, I played an event as an amateur and so I knew what to expect and what it's like. But I've been talking to some players a little bit, Andrew McArthur, about what it's like and what to expect. Just apart from that, not too much but I know what to expect. I'm looking forward to it.

GRANT FORREST: Yeah, the biggest thing for me is just enjoy it. It's a great event, having all the amateurs involved, some big names, I think it creates a great atmosphere just everywhere. The players seem to be really relaxed and stuff. Yeah, just go out and enjoy it. It's the biggest thing out there.

Q. What do you see as the biggest challenge of turning pro and what's the path that you're expecting to go down towards the end of the year in what's next after the Dunhill Links?
GRANT FORREST: Well, we've both got second stage Tour School in early November. So I think we're both just gearing up for that after this. But yeah, just kind of take each week as it comes and see what happens.

EWEN FERGUSON: The same. I played the first stage of Q-School a few weeks ago and managed to get through. Managed to get an invite to this week and just try to keep my game up for second stage, keep my head down.

Q. From the people you've spoken to, what do you think the key is going from amateur to the pro game? What do you think is going to make the difference?
GRANT FORREST: To be honest it's just keeping your head down. You know, you don't have to completely change what you've done. Obviously been working to get us to where we are now, so it's just keep trying to just improve little things every day. If you keep doing that, then you'll get there at some point.

EWEN FERGUSON: Yeah, you'll see some guys changing things now that they are pro and that, but like grant said, if it's been working so far, just try to keep practicing hard and doing all the right things and hopefully it will all come together in the end.

Q. I wonder if you look at guys, the most famous one, Justin Rose who had a horrendous start but eventually had a major breakthrough.
GRANT FORREST: He's a great example where obviously he's a very gifted player as an amateur, and then struggled early on in his pro days. You know, that's pretty common but it's not so common for someone to bounce back from that.

I think that shows you he's got a great support team around him that helped him keep going through that tough spell. And then obviously it's paid off, and look where he is now.

Q. At the Walker Cup last year, you both could have turned pro then and you chose not to and spent another year as an amateur. How has that benefitted you, that extra year?
EWEN FERGUSON: Well, I had not actually played a pro event before Walker Cup. So I felt that there's so much learning to do. Managed to get some starts on The Challenge Tour to see what it's like and what it's going to be like, and it's really helped me, even a couple things, when I went to Q-School there, just knowing where to register and to where to get my stroke savers and stuff like that, it makes you feel like I know what I'm doing. All these little things have helped me and that's why I feel as if I'm ready now.

GRANT FORREST: Yeah, the plan was to turn pro after the Walker Cup last year, but I just struggled with my game a little bit towards the second half of the season.

So you have to turn pro when you're playing well, so there was no point, and Scottish golf -- put together a great schedule in year with Challenge Tour events and amateur events. It's been great. My game's felt better and I feel like I'm in a much better place now than I was last year.

Q. Did either of you guys come across Thomas Pieters in amateur golf or was he just ahead of you?
GRANT FORREST: Yeah, I played with him a couple times as a junior when I was 16 maybe. You know, you could tell then he was going to be pretty good. Proved that last week.

Q. You've been one of the courses this week, St. Andrews Links Trophy, the Old Course -- the Amateur Championship final, does that give you confidence going into this event?
GRANT FORREST: Definitely. I think any course you've had success on, that's going to stay with you whenever you come back. Yes, it's great, coming back here and Carnoustie, and having good memories helps.

Q. Which professionals did you sort of admire growing up?
GRANT FORREST: Obviously Tiger for me. Just the level he was playing at back in '98 to, well, 2008 pretty much. Particularly the early 2000s, I think that inspired everyone. He was so far ahead of everyone else. And certainly on the course in golfing terms, he's such a good role model.

EWEN FERGUSON: Sergio, his flair and passion, just everything you see on TV, I was wanting to learn so badly. And the way he is, the first pumping and everything, he's definitely a person I look up to.

Q. A little bit different to the Scottish amateur this week. Do you both feel comfortable in this environment going forward?
EWEN FERGUSON: Yeah, me being like in an environment you've wanted to be in this environment for a long time, so I know that I'm kind of here and just going to embrace it and enjoy it and learn as much as I can.

GRANT FORREST: Yeah, I've played in quite a few pro events now, and you know, at first, you get a bit starstruck. You see some of the big names and all that. But you get used to it and just keep your head down and stick to your own game plan.

Q. It's obviously a great week for experience and whatever, but looking at the volume of prize money that's on offer, you can look at this as potentially a real big week of hitting the ground running, an opportunity that could be seized in many ways.
GRANT FORREST: Yeah, definitely. It's a big prize fund this week. But you know, I think that you have to keep that in the back of your head as much as you can. Just going to have to enjoy it and just try and play your best, and come the end of the week, we'll see where it leaves us.

EWEN FERGUSON: I'm not really thinking about the money side of things at all. I'm just trying to enjoy my golf and get the ball in the hole as short of play as possible, and I'm just trying to learn as much as I can. It's a long road to try and get to the top, and I'm just going to try to learn this week. Hopefully I can still play well, but at the same time, I'm not thinking about prize money or anything like that.

MICHAEL GIBBONS: Thanks for joining us. Good luck this week.

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