PREVIEW

Bradley Neil: Scottish golf gets an 'unfair review'

Bradley Neil

Event: NBO Golf Classic Grand Final
Date: November 1-4
Location: Al Mouj Golf, Muscat, Oman

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Bradley Neil is one of a few success stories that could emerge for young Scottish golfers over the next couple of weeks.

Lying 16th in the Challenge Tour’s Road to Oman rankings - one spot outside the bracket of players who will earn their European Tour cards on Saturday - the 21-year-old has enjoyed a fantastic season on Europe's second tier with runner-up finishes at the Prague Golf Challenge and Italian Challenge Open and fourth at the Northern Ireland Open.

Connor Syme and Robert MacIntyre, meanwhile, have also made strong starts to their pro lives and head to the Second Stage of Q-School in Spain later this week alongside 15 other Scots, including Ewen Ferguson, Liam Johnston, Jack McDonald and Craig Howie.

Neil, who won the 2014 Amateur Championship, has watched with interest as the latest batch of young Scottish pros have kicked off their careers and believes the review given to the nation's golfers at the end of every year is unfair.

"It's been great to see other young Scots enjoy success this year," he told bunkered.co.uk. "To be honest, I thought a few would have turned pro before they did because I've felt they always had the game but I guess people realise it at different times.

"I think Scottish golf on the whole gets an unfair review at the end of every year. People say, 'The youngest main tour player is 30', or, 'Where are they now?', or, 'These youngsters aren't good enough'. But people don't realise how tough this life actually is.

"Instead of wondering what happened to amateur stars of the past, they should be supporting and crediting guys who made it even more. I think with better support, these amateur stars of the past might be in a different place."

Neil missed the cut at last week's Ras al Khaimah Golf Challenge to edge him out of the top 15 in the Road to Oman but believes he has benefited from an extra couple of extra days’ rest as he looks to hunt down that European Tour card.

“I see last week as a blessing in disguise if I’m honest as it has given me the chance to recover from China and get ready for this week,” he added."It’s great because I know that I need to perform to get back into the top 15. I just hope I don’t end up finishing where I am now.

Bradley Neil1

“At the end of the day, I have no control over what other players do. I just have to take care of things myself and see where that leaves me after the final putt drops. But it excites me a lot thinking where I could be next year.”

Before this season, Neil had struggled since turning professional in June 2015 and realises that regardless of how the Challenge Tour finale pans out over the next few days, he can reflect on his 2017 with huge positivity.

"Everything has improved so much. It’s not that I didn’t have confidence in my ability last year – I always believed my game was good – it just wasn’t happening. I’m delighted my hard work, dedication and patience has paid off.

"No matter what happens, this year will go down as an overwhelmingly positive one. The progress I’ve made over the past 12 months has been incredible – in my game and as a person. I’ve learned so much about every part of my game and what makes each part better."

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