Perthshire golfer Bradley Neil will be living the dream of many a young golfer next year, when he tees off on the European Tour alongside some of the sport’s biggest names.
After a breakthrough year on the Challenge Tour, Bradley showed nerves of steel yesterday to hole a putt on the 18th hole in Oman, clinching the final qualifying place for a European Tour card in the process.
Going into the weekend, Bradley was in 16th place in the Road to Oman rankings, one place outside of a qualification spot. A strong performance at Al Mouj Golf in Muscat by the 21-year-old was enough to see him through despite having a nervy finish in the Middle East.
He bogeyed the 17th hole in his fourth round which left him knowing that he needed a par at the last to remain inside the qualification spot and realise his dream of playing at Europe’s highest level. Showing how mentally tough he is, the Blairgowrie man rattled his par putt home from three feet much to the joy of his family and friends.
Next year he’ll be back playing among the big boys, with the likes of major-winners Justin Rose, Sergio Garcia and Henrik Stenson. Perhaps the biggest name that Bradley could butt heads with on the European Tour though is four-time major-winner Rory McIlory.
Bradley will take heart in making it to the next stage of his professional golf career which has promised so much ever since he broke onto the seen as Amateur Champion back in 2014. Previous Challenge Tour graduates include Justin Rose and Henrik Stenson, mentioned above, who’ve gone onto win major titles, and 2011 graduate Tommy Fleetwood is currently at the top of the European Tour’s ‘Race to Dubai’ rankings showing that it is possible to make the step up and excel at a higher level. Next year he’ll be back playing among the big boys, with the likes of major-winners Justin Rose, Sergio Garcia, Henrik Stenson and Rory McIlroy.
It won’t be a long break for Neil before he starts his rookie season on the continent’s flagship Tour, as the official schedule kicks off with a tournament in Hong Kong at the end of November. There are no less than four competitions scheduled before the Christmas break although whether or not Bradley plays in all of these remains to be seen.
It's a fantastic achievement for the Blairgowrie Golf Club man whose career continues to go from strength to strength. The next step for him is to try and cut his teeth at a higher level, and coming up against household names such as Lee Westwood, Martin Kaymer and the Molinari brothers can only serve to improve the young and talented Perthshire golfer.
Having already featured at the British Open and at the Masters in Augusta, Bradley will not be fazed by the step up and hopefully it won’t be long before we see him competing at major competitions again. First of all though, we should take a moment to appreciate just what an achievement it is for the former Blairgowrie High School pupil to make it to the European Tour.
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