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Neil targets Area Team Defence at Crail as new sponsor boost Championship

18th May 2013
Bradley Neil (Photo Kenny Smith and SGU)

A Perth & Kinross side, spearheaded by Scottish Boys champion Bradley Neil, will seek to retain the GolfKings Scottish Area Team Championship over the impressive links of Crail Golfing Society this weekend (18 – 19 May).

The championship, which has attracted a new two-year sponsorship deal in the shape of Glasgow-based golf holiday specialists GolfKings Travel, brings together the Scottish Golf Union's 16 Area Associations who will converge on the East Neuk of Fife in pursuit of the coveted title.

Twelve months ago, on home turf at Blairgowrie, the Perth & Kinross outfit secured their first win in 10 years after beating Fife 3.5 – 1.5 in a closely-contested final.

Five members of last year's six-man team return to defend the crown, with Liam Barn joining the winning quintet of Neil, Glenn Campbell, Stuart Graham, Mark Cameron and Scott Michie, while Stuart McKendrick again captains the side.

Neil, who defeated Ewan Scott in the Boys' final at Monifieth last month, is now hoping for more success as Perth & Kinross seek to become the first side since the Lothians in 2007 to successfully defend.

“It was a special win for everyone in our Area last year,” said Neil, the 17-year-old Great Britain & Ireland Boys' international. “It was also nice to win on home soil at Blairgowrie.

“Crail provides a different test but we're all feeling confident and looking forward to a great weekend of golf. Personally, I've had a good start to the season, coming runner-up in the Fairhaven Trophies as well, and I want to keep that going in the team environment.”

Neil is far from the only SGU Boys' Performance Squad player competing, with St Andrews' Scott and Ewen Ferguson (Bearsden) turning out for Fife and Dumbartonshire respectively.

The newly-crowned Golf Data Lab Scottish Youths champion Robert MacIntyre, still only 16, also lines up for Argyll & Bute, while Calum Hill and Anthony Blaney, both feature for the 13-time champions Lothians.

Stirlingshire, bronze medal winners last year and without a win in the event since 1981, are led by in-form Graeme Robertson of Glenbervie, who was beaten in a play-off at the Irish Amateur Stroke Play last weekend.

Fife, winners in 2011, also include experienced pair James White and Scott Crichton, while the 2010 victors, North East, field Adam Dunton among their number.

Renfrewshire, the champions four years ago, have named former amateur champion Craig Watson, Matthew Clark and Michael Daily in a strong line-up. The North will also fancy their chances with former Scottish Youths champion Lyle McAlpine and Bryan Fotheringham, a semi-finalist in last year's Scottish Amateur Championship, both teeing-up.

GolfKings Travel, part of the John Semple Travel Group, will sponsor the championship for the first time at Crail and will soon be launching a new golf travel partnership with the SGU, offering added value to golf club members across Scotland.

Neil MacRae, a former GB&I Boys and Scotland international, is the GolfKings Travel Sales Director and is pleased to be providing his company's support to amateur golf. “We are delighted to be launching our new partnership with the Scottish Golf Union this weekend and looking forward to the Scottish Area Team Championship at Crail this weekend,” he said.

"We have some exciting plans for working with the SGU through their new website, providing added value to golf club members through our range of travel packages and also lending our expertise for the national squads' overseas travel logistics.

"A significant proportion of our customers are members of clubs in Scotland, so the sponsorship is a great fit for both parties."

The Crail Golfing Society is the world's seventh oldest golf club and provides a fantastic setting for this year's championship.

Saturday's stroke play qualifying will be played over the historic Balcomie Links, created by the Old Master himself, Tom Morris, and the Gil Hanse-designed Craighead Links, with the four leading teams then playing off on Sunday in a match play format.

The five lowest scores in each of the two qualifying stroke play rounds will count towards each team's aggregate score. The match play stage comprises one foursome and four singles ties.

>> Click here for the draw and teams for the GolfKings Scottish Area Team Championship

>> Click here for more information on GolfKings

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