Amateur champion admits he needs to ‘work harder’ after Augusta disappointment
BRADLEY NEIL reflected on a disappointing Masters debut, which saw him comfortably miss the cut and admitted: I need to work harder.
The Blairgowrie 19-year-old posted rounds of 78 and 79 to finish on 13-over-par on his first visit to Augusta National. However, with the cut falling at two-over, the Amateur champion had to make do with watching, rather than contesting, the final two rounds.
Afterwards, Neil conceded: “It’s been a great learning experience but very tough. Every time you get to play with the world’s best, you’ll take something away.
“This is where I want to be in a few years’ time. I just need to keep working harder. I’ve prepared well for this but this shows it’s not been enough. I just need to work harder on what I’ve got.”
Neil, whose Amateur Championship victory last year also entitles him to a place in the US Open at Chambers Bay in June, is widely expected to turn professional later this year and knows that there is a lot of work to be done to make the step up.
“My season has been disappointing so far,” he added. “Last year I found it easy on the amateur scene, but now I need to work my socks off. There are no excuses.”
As much of an anti-climax as his trip to Augusta may have been, Neil can at least take some comfort from the fact that he made quite an impression on some of the players he played with.
World No.1 and four-time major winner Rory McIlroy, for example, was full of praise for Neil’s game after they played a practice round together.
The Northern Irishman said he rated the Scot’s game ‘really highly’, adding: “I can see him one day coming over here and doing well on the PGA Tour. He has the game for the style of golf to suit playing over there.”
Former Masters champion Sandy Lyle, meanwhile, partnered Neil for his two rounds and said there’s little doubt the young Scot has what it takes.
“The lesson to learn comes from the fact he started to hit the ball well in the last few holes,” said Lyle.
“It’s just by then he had taken away all the pressure he’d put on himself. There’s no doubt he’s got the skills. He’s not a very big lad although he gives the ball a fair old whack.”