A top five finish at last week’s Iberdrola Open, achieved despite a “poor” performance with the putter, was the perfect preparation for Alastair Forsyth’s first appearance at the Madeira Islands Open since winning the event in 2008.
Were it not for a three putt from 15 feet on the final green, Forsyth would have finished in a tie for second instead of taking fourth place behind winner Darren Clarke; but the Scot was nonetheless delighted with his best European Tour performance since his victory at Santo da Serra Golf Club three years ago.
The following year the €700,000 event moved to Porto Santo Golfe, a suitably spectacular course designed by the late, great Seve Ballesteros, and Forsyth is hoping to honour “The Matador’s” memory with a repeat victory this week.
He said: “Obviously Seve will be in a lot of people’s thoughts this week, which is only right. Having his name in flowers by one of the tees is a nice touch, and although I’ve haven’t played the course before it looks spectacular and I’ve heard great things about it, so hopefully we can do justice to his memory this week with some great golf.”
Forsyth produced some memorable moments in 2008, when he edged out South Africa’s Hennie Otto in a dramatic sudden-death play-off, but since then the Glaswegian has slipped slowly down the World Ranking after struggling for consistency.
Having lost his card last year after finishing 127th in The Race to Dubai, Forsyth will this season divide his time between The European and Challenge Tours in a bid to regain it, and the 35 year old is now more confident of securing a swift return to the top tier after last week’s encouraging return to form.
He said: “I was delighted with my result in Mallorca, but in some ways it was quite a strange week, because even though it was my best finish for a while I didn’t feel I putted well at all. Obviously I’m not in a position to be greedy just at the moment so I still have to be pleased with how I played from tee to green, but if a few more putts had dropped then I could’ve been right in contention. Finishing with a three-putt was disappointing, but I soon got over it. There’s definitely room for improvement, but I’m moving in the right direction and it was nice to climb The Race Dubai.
“I’ve never been here before, but it’s a beautiful place so I’m really looking forward to the week. It’s always nice to come back to a tournament as a former champion, although obviously it doesn’t have quite the same feel with it being played at a different course. But at the moment I’m just grateful for any opportunity to play, so hopefully I can keep my form going.”