Bradley Neil won the battle of the top seeds and St Andrews Links Academy prospects to claim the 2013 Scottish Boys Championship at Monifieth Golf Links.
The 17-year-old No 2 seed, who is coached by Academy senior instructor Kevin Hale, sealed a 4&2 win over No 1 seed Ewan Scott in the 36-hole final in Angus after a superb day’s golf played out in wonderfully sunny and calm conditions.
After the players were deadlocked at lunch, Neil took control in the afternoon thanks to some brilliant iron play – including a holed 8-iron approach at the par-4 sixth hole – to consign Scott to back-to-back final defeats in the prestigious Under-18 event. The Blairgowrie player was five-under-par for their 16 holes after lunch, four shots better than Scott.
In doing so, Neil avenged his quarter-final loss to Scott 12 months ago and becomes the first player from the Blairgowrie club to take the Scottish Boys matchplay title. He also joins a winners' list that includes Andrew Coltart, Steven O'Hara and Scott Henry.
A jubilant Neil, who together with Scott won gold medals for Team GB at the Australian Youth Olympic Festival earlier this year, said: “To pull off a shot like I did at the 6th at any time is fantastic, but to do it in the Scottish Boys final was unthinkable. It was definitely a turning point, and I holed a fantastic putt at the previous hole as well to go one up. I think that putt was just as crucial as holing the second shot.
“It gave me great confidence and from there I never really looked back. I started to pull shots off at the right time, which is what I’ve worked hard to do. It shows I have the determination and motivation to succeed. I was determined to keep my foot on the gas, especially against a player like Ewan.”
Scott, 17, was aiming to become the first golfer from St Andrews to win the Boys' title since Lachlan Carver in 1960.
“Bradley hit some awesome iron shots,” said Ewan, who is coached by St Andrews Links Academy Director of Instruction Steve North. “You can call it a fluke on the 6th, but it was a quality golf shot. Once it hit the green it was nowhere else, so fair play to him.
“It’s more world ranking points and a good start to the Boys’ Order of Merit for me, so it’s still a good week.”
St Andrews Links Academy Director of Instruction Steve North said: "Congratulations to Bradley on a tremendous performance and fantastic achievement winning the prestigious title of Scottish Boys Champion 2013.
"Both boys performed fantastically well, living up to their top seed billing and demonstrating their skills with some sensational golf over the course of the final. It's early in the season and myself and Kevin, Bradley's coach, are sure that both are set to enjoy exceptional seasons.
"It's great to see two talented individuals from the Academy going head-to-head, playing high quality of golf but doing so in the right spirit with a great deal of friendship and camaraderie between the two. They are a great example for youngsters across the country."