ROYAL PORTRUSH, Northern Ireland – Bradley Neil, 18, of Scotland, won the British Amateur Championship at Royal Portrush on Sunday after a closely fought 36-hole final match with South African Zander Lombard.
Neil clinched the match with a half on the par-5 35th hole for a 2-and-1 victory. The Blairgowrie golfer became the first Scot to win the British Amateur since Stuart Wilson at St Andrews in 2004.
Neil’s form on the inward nine and coolness under pressure helped him clinch the title and earned him a place in next month’s British Open Championship at Royal Liverpool, the 2015 U.S. Open at Chambers Bay and a traditional invitation to the 2015 Masters. He also is exempt into the 2014 U.S. Amateur at Atlanta Athletic Club.
“To play in front of big crowds like this is incredible,” he said. “I would like to thank my caddie Michael Stewart. This win is not just for me it is for everyone that has helped me. I am so proud that my name will be added to the list of past winners.”
Despite his disappointment, the 19-year-old Lombard, who was hoping to become only the second South African winner after Bobby Cole in 1966, was delighted to have reached the final and has earned a place in Final Qualifying for the British Open.
“I’m very pleased with my achievement,” he said. “My golf’s been good all week. We both played really solid today and I have to say thumbs up to Bradley, he’s an awesome golfer with a lot of talent. We are pretty good friends and it is always nice having really good company on the golf course.
“We both just made a lot of pars and played really solid golf without making any mistakes. I had a few errant shots around the turn of the afternoon round but all in all I am really happy with my performance and my golf and am really looking forward to the rest of my career.”
Neil, who is currently 38th in the World Amateur Golf RankingTM, has followed in the footsteps of players such as Matteo Manassero, Sergio Garcia and Mikko Ilonen in winning the British Amateur Championship. Drew Weaver was the last American to win the title, achieving the feat in 2007 at Royal Lytham & St. Annes, the site of next year’s Walker Cup Match.