• But the 20-year-old is adamant he can make to the top level
• "I'm a lot more confident now," said the Blairgowrie man
Bradley Neil has admitted he lost a lot of confidence in his early struggles as a professional – but is adamant that, although it will be tough, he can fulfil his dream of making it onto the European Tour.
It’s still less than a year ago since the Blairgowrie man played in a practice round alongside then world No.1 Rory McIlroy at Augusta National ahead of the Masters, a perk he enjoyed as a result of winning the 2014 Amateur Championship.
But since turning professional after the 2015 US Open, with his debut at the Scottish Hydro Challenge in late June, Neil has struggled, making just one cut in 13 events on both the European Tour and Challenge Tour.
Unsurprisingly, Neil – who is still only 20 – has found that hard to take, even more so when watching amateur peers Paul Dunne and Marcus Kinhult on the European Tour after gaining their cards at the Final Stage of Q-School in November, where Neil missed the cut after impressive performances at the First and Second Stages.
“I lost a lot of confidence,” he told bunkered.co.uk. “There’s no way somebody that played at my level in the amateur game can be happy with the way they started their professional career.
“There are guys out there on the European Tour now, like Paul Dunne, Marcus Kinhult and Ryan Evans, who I played amateur golf with, and seeing them there it drives me more to get to that stage and join them.
“I’m good friends with these guys and I know from playing with them that I’m just as good as them, so I know I’ve got every chance of getting there, I just need to take my chances when they come.”
But with a low Challenge Tour category, Neil knows the journey towards his dream will be a difficult one, but is looking at it in a positive light and isn’t concerned about where he finds himself at this moment in time.
“It’s going to be tough,” he said. “I’ve not got the best Challenge Tour category so I’m going to need to play a few weeks on EuroPro Tour and when I do get in, or get an invite for an event, I’ve really got to take advantage of that.
"I’ll be a lot more gutted this time next year if I haven’t had a good year" - Bradley Neil
“But I’m six months more experienced as a professional golfer and six months more comfortable than when I first started. I’ll be a lot more gutted this time next year if I haven’t had a good year, or at least a better year.
"So I’m not worried. I’m a lot more confident now than what I was. Obviously I haven’t made many cuts as a professional but there’s no doubt in my head. I know that the things I’m working on are molding into my game and my head, so it’s all about continuing to practise and hope to take my chances when they come.”
Bradley Neil :: Can he make it onto the European Tour?
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