Judging by the weekend weather forecast, it’s going to be so wet at the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship, the golf writers may have to birl their laptops through a mangle after they’ve written a report from round three.

Mother Nature is set to fling a big old sodden blanket over affairs at St Andrews, Carnoustie and Kingsbarns but Grant Forrest will continue to look on the bright side. The Scot has every reason to be chipper, of course.

A five-under 67 over the Old Course in round two hoisted him on to a 12-under aggregate and left him lurking just a shot behind the halfway leader, Matt Fitzpatrick.

On a dull, dry and relatively calm golfing day in the Auld Grey Toun, Forrest made hay while the sun didn’t shine to fortify his position on the leaderboard and bolster his bid to become the first Scotsman since Colin Montgomerie in 2005 to land the title.

His purposeful round was polished by an eagle-putt of 20-feet on the 14th – his fifth – but it was a hit-and-hope exercise in damage limitation on the treacherous Road Hole 17th that was just as important. Hard up against the back lip of the sand trap, Forrest’s lie in the hazard should have been accompanied by an amber alert from the Met Office.

“Even trying to get it out backwards away from the hole wasn’t easy,” he said of the daunting salvage operation. “So, I just decided to try and get it forward. I opened the face as much as I could, leathered it and, luckily, it came out to 25-feet.”

Forrest’s putt for par narrowly shaved the hole but, given the position he was in – and the potential for a grisly card-wrecker – the bogey five was, in his own words, “alright.” The 30-year-old would pick up a birdie on the 18th before covering his inward half in four-under to keep himself right in the thick of it.

The Dunhill Links holds good memories for Forrest. St Andrews as a whole does too. He won the St Andrews Links Trophy as an amateur here in 2014, made his professional debut in the Dunhill Links back in 2016 and landed his first DP World Tour title in the Hero Open just along the road at the Fairmont resort in 2021.

“I stayed there when I won and my fiancée and I are actually staying there again this week,” he said. “We’ve always done the Airbnb thing, but this year we decided to treat ourselves. It does have a special feel for us after winning there.”

A win here, meanwhile, would be worth upwards of $800,000. Forrest is just outside the top-30 on the tour’s rankings but has certainly not given up hope of barging his way up the order and nabbing one of 10 PGA Tour cards that are up for grabs at the end of the campaign.

“There’s an Open spot to play for too,” he added of the various incentives. “Playing on the PGA Tour is the pinnacle, it’s the highest standard and I think the golf out there would suit me as well. To win this week would be unbelievable. But there’s a long way to go.”

There’s also the small matter of knocking a major champion off the top of the leaderboard. Fitzpatrick, the 2022 US Open winner who is one of three members of last week’s European Ryder Cup team competing here, upped the ante in his assault with a thrusting eight-under 64 at Kingsbarns which moved him to 13-under. The Sheffield man finished with a flourish and birdied his last two holes to grab the outright lead.

By his own admission, Fitzpatrick prefers Kingsbarns to the Old Course and Carnoustie. “It’s the only one I felt any affinity to,” he said. “It’s the most enjoyable.” If the St Andrews locals hear that, they’ll be demanding he be tried for heresy on the Bruce Embankment after his round at the Old Course today.

Elvira aided his 66 at the Old Course with an eagle two on the 18th after a howitzer of a drive that came to rest just four feet from the hole. It was an eye-catching moment but it was not the highlight of the day as far the Spaniard was concerned.

“The real highlight was the fact I hit the 17th fairway,” he smiled. “I’ve been here 10 times and never managed it. That was more impressive to me.”