Jan 22 2013 by Alison Lowson, Perthshire Advertiser
History-making Perthshire teenager Bradley Neil played a key role in a Team GB golf gold medal win at the Australian Youth Olympic Festival.
And the Blairgowrie Golf Club star shrugged off searing heat to come within two shots of claiming an individual gold after four consistent under-par rounds at the tournament held at the Twin Creeks Golf Club, on the outskirts of Sydney.
It was the perfect way to celebrate his 17th birthday.
Blairgowrie High School pupil Neil and compatriot Ewan Scott from St Andrews, both members of the SGU National Boys’ Performance Squad, combined with English girl Georgia Hall and Chloe Williams from Wales for overall team glory Down Under.
The quartet, part of a 10-strong Team GB team, beat the host nation to the gold medal by a massive 12 shots, with New Zealand third.
Yesterday Neil said: “It was the proudest day of my life winning a gold medal. I’m so glad to have been part of Team GB. I have had a memorable time trip to Oz, and thanks to everyone back home for their support. It means a lot.
“Although I just missed out on an individual medal, I was happy to play my part in helping the team win gold.
“In my final round, I tripled bogeyed one of the early holes and I felt as though I was out of the individuals but I wanted to keep a score going for the team event.
“I knew we were in the hunt for the gold, but had no idea of the other scores, so I just had to keep plugging away and that is what I did, and somehow I ended up three under.
“The aim for the team was to get a medal but to get the gold was fantastic. To be picked for a British team was already great, but to be the first-ever gold-medal winning team was brilliant.”
Golf will return to the Olympic Games for the first time since 1904 in Rio in 2016, meaning Neil and Scott were part of the first British team to take part in an Olympics golf event for more than 100 years.
Neil, who enjoyed a superb season in 2012 both domestically and internationally, finished fourth in the boys’ individual standings, posting an 11-under total with cards of 69, 70, 69 and 69.
Scott, the reigning Golf Data Lab Scottish Youths champion and winner of his category at the Faldo Series Europe Grand Final last year, was three shots behind Neil in eighth after carding scores of 72, 67, 72 and 69.
To complete a brilliant performance from the Scots, Scottish Girls’ champion Lauren Whyte of St Regulus in St Andrews, claimed a share of ninth place in the girls’ competition.
Neil, Scott and Whyte have all been nurtured through the Scottish Golf Academy programme and Kevin Cademy-Taylor, Scottish Golf Performance Development manager, said: “It’s fantastic to see these young players succeeding on the international stage.
“None of them has even turned 18 yet, but already they have shown they can compete at a very high standard. It’s a credit to them as individuals - and to our systems.
“Having all been right through the development programme with the Scottish Golf Academy, all aspects of their training have been tested in Australia - including travel, dealing with extreme heat, rest and diet.
“It’s great to see that training being put to good use.”