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Fairstone Backing for Scottish Amateur as Neil Chases Home Glory at Blairgowrie

25th July 2013

Fairstone Backing for Scottish Amateur as Neil Chases Home Glory at Blairgowrie

Bradley Neil (Photo Kenny Smith and SGU)

On home soil at Blairgowrie GC, Bradley Neil will next week bid to complete a notable double for 2013 by adding the Fairstone Scottish Amateur crown, the Scottish Golf Union's flagship event, to his Scottish Boys' title.

Hazlehead's David Law was the last player to achieve the famous feat in 2009, with Neil seeking to continue a memorable season by doing likewise over the Lansdowne Course at his member club in Perthshire.

A field of 256 players, balloting at a handicap of 1.3, will chase one of the most coveted prizes in Scottish amateur golf from 29 July – 3 August, with the event enjoying a new title sponsorship from Fairstone Financial Management for the next three years.

Sixth seed Neil is hoping local knowledge aids his cause at Blairgowrie's first-ever staging of the Scottish Amateur, having hosted the Scottish Amateur Stroke Play Championship on five occasions.

“I guess there will be a little bit more expectation on me to do well,” said the 17-year-old, who has achieved gold for Team GB at the Australian Youth Olympic Festival, claimed the Scottish Boys' title at Monifieth and helped Scotland to the European Men's Amateur Team final during an impressive season.

“I obviously know the course, and that may well help, but a lot of the top players have played national events at Blairgowrie in the past. I'll have home support, but so too will other guys from the club like Glenn Campbell, who won the Scottish Amateur at Southerness in 2005. He is one to watch.”

Indeed, Campbell – like Neil a member of the Perth & Kinross side who won the Moneygate Scottish Area Team Championship for the first time in 10 years at Blairgowrie last year – is in the first match out on Monday 29 July, teeing off at 6.45am against Greg Telfer from Prestwick St Cuthbert.

Nick Barr, Stuart Graham and Connor Neil, Bradley's brother, make-up the five-strong bid from Blairgowrie, as the renowned venue looks forward to a superb week's golf.

In fact, the Scottish Amateur winner will join some famous names to have triumphed over Blairgowrie's fairways. Australian great Greg Norman, for example, won his first event on the European Tour in 1977, when he claimed the Martini International over the club's Rosemount layout.

Blairgowrie has the honour of hosting next year's Junior Ryder Cup, immediately preceding The Ryder Cup at Gleneagles, but it's the Scottish Amateur that comes first, with the 7,007-yard Lansdowne course providing a challenging test of narrow fairways and small greens.

Lee Hartley, Managing Director of Fairstone Financial Management, said: “We are delighted to be sponsoring the Scottish Amateur Championship, the SGU's flagship event and one of the most prestigious events in amateur golf.

“Our company is very passionate about supporting golf and we are looking forward to the next three years of association with the event, starting with the week ahead at Blairgowrie. It is a great way to launch our new brand and we are excited about working with golf clubs and golfers, through the provision of a range of financial services, during our partnership.”

At Royal Dornoch last year, Craigielaw's Grant Forrest took the honours, emphatically defeating Bearsden's Richard Docherty 9&7 to join a roll of honour which includes the likes of Charlie Green, Colin Dalgleish, Colin Montgomerie, Stephen Gallacher, Dean Robertson and Steven O'Hara.

Having tasted the big time at Muirfield at The Open, Forrest is eager to defend his crown back on the domestic scene. “I'm looking forward to a great week at Blairgowrie,” he said, ahead of a tie with Lanark's Jamie Lamb in round one. “Muirfield was a wonderful experience, something that I want more of, and I have to keep pushing to improve.”

Forrest is the top seed, with Graeme Robertson and Jack McDonald (seeded second and third respectively) among those also seeking to enhance their Great Britain & Ireland Walker Cup claims with victory at Blairgowrie.

After a busy year of golf, St Andrews' Ewan Scott has chosen to miss the event as he finalises preparations to start college in America, but the likes of Dollar's Scott Borrowman, the fourth seed, Matt Clark, a recent winner on the SGU Men's Order of Merit, and Paul Lawrie's son Craig will hope to contend. So too will Barry Hume, the champion at Downfield in 2001, after the former professional returned to the amateur circuit earlier this year.

Blairgowrie, which also offers the beautiful Rosemount test and the 9-hole Wee Course, was founded in 1889 and celebrates its 125 years in 2014. The hands of Alistair McKenzie, James Braid and Peter Alliss all helped shape the current layouts.

The 2013 Scottish Amateur Championship starts on Monday and concludes with the 36-hole final teeing off on Saturday morning. Spectators are encouraged to come along and support their local favourites with free entry to the course.

Live scoring and regular updates will be available throughout the week on www.scottisholf.org , on Twitter @SGUGolf or on SGU Facebook while the draw can be accessed by clicking here.







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