Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Bradley Neil says he is not nervous about 

making pro debut

Blairgowrie's Bradley Neil makes his professional debut in this week’s SSE Scottish Hydro  Challenge hosted by Macdonald Hotels and Resorts after enjoying his adventure at the US Open Championship but the promising young Scot  (pictured by Cal Carson Golf Agency), thinks his previous experience in big tournaments will help keep any  nerves at bay.
The 19-year-old won last year’s British Amateur Championship at Royal Portrush to earn a place at Chambers Bay, having also played in the Masters Tournament and last year’s Open Championship.

Neil is excited to be able to make his Challenge Tour bow on home soil,  though insists he is not feeling any extra pressure now that he has left the amateur ranks behind.
“There’s  a lot of excitement this week,” said the Blairgowrie player, who last year had the rare opportunity to represent Europe in the Junior Ryder  Cup over his home course. 
“This is my debut as a professional, and I’m  getting to make that debut in Scotland as well which is very important  to me. Hopefully I can follow it up with some good golf. 
“Last  week at Chambers Bay was a bit different. It was challenging but it was the US Open and it was always going to be fun. I had fun all week and  playing in front of those crowds was incredible, and it was great to get  more experience at that level to help me in turning pro.
“This  last year has been a massive learning experience. I got to play three  of the biggest tournaments in golf, maybe not quite as well as I want  to, but it’s a great learning curve and has helped me make the step that I’ve made.
 “I  don’t really feel any added pressure, I’m not acting any differently.  It’s kind of like the day before your birthday – nothing feels  different, you don’t feel any different.
“I’ve been preparing for this all through the last year. I knew that turning  pro was going to happen, I just didn’t know what day or time.
“I’m  just hoping to play well, beyond that I’m not sure what to expect. But  I’ve made the cut in pro tournaments before so that’s something I’m  definitely aiming for, and hopefully get a cheque at the end of the week – that would be a positive week for me.”The
 Scottish Hydro Challenge, celebrating its tenth staging this week, has  not had a home winner since George Murray triumphed in 2010 but Neil is  not the only Scottish hope in a strong field.

 Heading the pack is Jamie McLeary, the 2009 winner here at the Macdonald Spey  Valley course and recent champion at the KPMG Open in Belgium.
McLeary, a member of Team SSE Scottish Hydro, which provides financial support  to emerging professionals, has made the cut in five of his seven  appearances in this event and currently lies eighth in the Road to Oman  Rankings.
A fellow Team SSE Scottish Hydro member, Andrew McArthur, will also be  hopeful of ending Scotland’s five-year wait for a home champion in the Aviemore event.

The  36 year old former Scottish amateur champion has been in great form recently, finishing second at the  Made In Denmark Challenge and third in the  Czech Challenge, and
 is playing the Scottish Hydro Challenge for the ninth time.

All the top 15 in the Road to Oman Rankings will also be in action, at the Macdonald Spey Valley course, designed by the late Dave Thomas, with  second-placed Sebastien Gros hoping to gain more ground on leader Nacho  Elvira following his dominant victory on home soil in last week’s Nateji Open




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