Junior Ryder Cup Captain Stuart Wilson has congratulated Bradley Neil on his historic Amateur Championship victory and said it is “a great thrill” to have the holder of one of the most prestigious trophies in amateur golf available for selection for the European team.
Neil, whose home club Blairgowrie Golf Club will host the Junior Ryder Cup from September 22-23, became the first Scot in ten years to win the Amateur Championship when he beat South Africa’s Zander Lombard 2&1 in the 36-hole final at Royal Portrush in Northern Ireland.
Coincidentally, the last man from Scotland to lift the trophy was European Junior Ryder Cup Captain Wilson, who beat England’s Lee Corfield to claim the title over the Old Course at St Andrews in 2004.
Wilson will select his European team at the conclusion of the European Young Masters on Saturday July 26, before his side attempt to get their hands on the trophy for the first time since 2006, when they retained the title after a tie with the USA.
Neil’s victory means he is in a strong position to make a maiden appearance in the Junior Ryder Cup in September - just days before Gleneagles hosts The Ryder Cup - with the added incentive of playing in front of what is expected to be a huge attendance from his home town and beyond.
“I wish to congratulate Bradley on his victory at the weekend and it is a great thrill to have the Amateur Champion available for selection for this year,” said Wilson. “As a former winner of the event I know how much of an honour it is to lift such a prestigious trophy and he has got a huge year in front of him with some of the biggest events in golf to look forward to.
“It is a huge step towards selection for the Junior Ryder Cup and, if that were the case, Bradley would be a great asset, not only because he is the Amateur Champion, but because he would prove a huge home favourite who would surely create a lot of local interest and generate an unforgettable atmosphere.
“A proven ability to perform in the high-pressured situation of the match play format is very important for those players hoping to make the team, and Bradley certainly showed he can not only handle that kind of scenario, but he can thrive on it.
“I've captained Bradley for the Scottish Boys team and he was a great asset to that squad, a real team player as well as being an extremely talented individual. It’s great to see him fulfil that promise in such a major amateur event and I have no doubt he has a huge career in front him.
“Having attended a number of planning meetings for the Junior Ryder Cup, this year’s event is shaping up to be the biggest in the tournament’s history. More than 4,000 school children are due to attend to take part in ClubGolf activities, while we are expecting big crowds of regular golf fans to turn out to see the future superstars of world golf.”
The Ryder Cup Junior is a biennial contest between Europe and America, and the teams consist of boys and girls under the age of 18. The USA retained the trophy in 2012, winning 14½-9½ at Olympia Fields in Chicago.
The event is an international showcase of golf’s next generation, and is designed to continue to build international friendships between top junior golfers in the United States and Europe. Notable past players include Rory McIlroy, Matteo Manassero, Carly Booth, Suzann Pettersen and Hunter Mahan.