Bradley Neil happy to avoid Q-school on way to debut season on European Tour
Bypassing the stresses and strains of qualifying school is something Bradley Neil is not taking for granted.
The recent graduate to the European Tour is delighted his top 15 finish in the 2017 Challenge Tour rankings means he can watch events in Spain from afar.
Nine Scottish golfers are competing at Lumine to try and either win or retain their European Tour cards for 2018.
“Form goes out the window at Q-school and everyone starts in the same place,” Neil told BBC Scotland.
“It’s different from every other event you play – it’s a four-round cut and then another gruelling two rounds of golf to see who comes out on top.
“You’ve just got to see who lasts over the six days. Guys like Ewen Ferguson, Connor Syme and Bob MacIntyre are new to final stage of Q-school.
“I’ve been messaging a couple of them to try and give them some advice. You never know how you’re going to deal with it until you’ve done the event.”
Syme, 22, and MacIntyre, 21, were both well-placed in joint 21st after three of the six rounds in Tarragona.
European Tour cards are handed to those who finish in the top 25 and ties after day six.
Ferguson, Scott Henry, Ross Kellett, Grant Forrest, Chris Doak, Duncan Stewart and David Law are the other Scots involved.
Neil’s promotion to the European Tour for next season was only confirmed on the last hole of the last day of the Challenge Tour season, when he sank a routine putt at the NBO Golf Classic Grand final to sneak into the the top 15 of the Road to Oman rankings.
“To have that four foot putt on the last, not knowing what really was going on, but telling myself this could be the putt, was obviously huge pressure,” said the 21-year-old, who was 2014 British Amateur champion.
“It was made a lot harder by the fact I’d missed a similar putt on the 71st hole. There was a sort of amphitheatre created on the 18th green and everyone was watching.
“I just told myself I had done this kind of putt loads of times before and that helped to calm me down.”
The Blairgowrie golfer hopes to make the Hong Kong Open on 23 November his first event of the 2018 European Tour season, but there is a tournament on next year’s calendar that is really standing out to him.
“The one I’m most excited about is the Scottish Open at Gullane,” said Neil.
“I’ve not played my national open on the main tour yet. I’ve played our Challenge Tour event up at Spey Valley the last three seasons.
“Even there, it’s obviously not a European Tour event but the support you get from your home crowd is fantastic. So I’m going to multiply that by 10 and that’s what I’m going to experience at Gullane.”