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Neil Enjoys Emphatic Win / Scottish Boys Round-up

2nd April 2013

Scott swings nicely into the second round (Photo Kenny Smith)
Scott swings nicely into the second round Cameron Franssen, he and brother Rory both into next round (Photos: Kenny Smith)

Blairgowrie's Bradley Neil, one of the nation's brightest talents, stormed into the second round of the Scottish Boys Championship after a clinical 9&8 win today, one of the biggest victories in the long history of the event.

The 17-year-old, a Great Britain & Ireland Boys cap and a member of the SGU Boys Performance Squad, swept aside Jack Purdie of Largs with minimal fuss to ease into the next round.

Neil, who hopes to play in the Junior Ryder Cup next year over his home club, was three-under-par for his 10 holes, only easing Purdie's pain with a half at the 6th.

Cameron Franssen, he and brother Rory both into next round (Photos: Kenny Smith)

“Jack is only 15 and it was his first competition, so he was nervous. I couldn't let it get to me, I just had to focus on playing well,” said Bradley, the second seed who won gold for Team GB at the Australian Youth Olympic Festival earlier this year.

“It's a long week and the quicker you get it done in these rounds the better. I'm confident and I know I have the game to win here, but its matchplay so anything can happen.”

On another cold day on the Angus links, but with only little wind to speak of, there were a number of high scores as the first-round was completed and the second-round ties began.

Cameron Kirkwood from Bearsden eased to a 5&4 success, while Grant Joss (Royal Aberdeen) won 6&5. Also from the north, the Inverness brothers, Cameron and Rory Franssen, both claimed wins to progress - just like the Lawrie siblings a day previous. Should Cameron and Rory win their second-round ties on Wednesday, they will face each other in a family clash in the next round.

Willem Kerr from Craigielaw was a big winner too, beating Andrew Guthrie (Erskine) 6&5, before Colin Edgar of Cochrane Castle won by the same margin against John McKenna of Downfield.

Meanwhile, there were far tighter matches, Andrew Thomson going to the 21st as the Lanark player saw off the challenge of Murray Paterson (Bruntsfield Links).

But the greatest fighting spirit of the day was displayed by 16-year-old David Fair (Hamilton). Five down at the turn to Daragh Cuddihy of Gourock and in the water at the 10th, Fair incredibly triumphed at the 19th.

“I can't believe it, to be honest,” said Fair, who won the Hamilton junior club championship last year and formerly played football for the youth teams of Rangers and Motherwell.

There were other interesting tales. For South African Keagan Thomas the colder conditions are something he is not used to, but he has Scottish blood, allowing his entry into the event.

Thomas' father, Steve, hails from Dundee and he is enjoying the links test this week, moving into the second round after beating Cameron Kerr from Elgin 3&2.

“We have been living in South Africa for the last 20 years now,” said Thomas, a plus-two handicap. “But we plan on moving back to Scotland. I've played a bit of golf here, and in England, and like the challenge.”

The number three seed Ewen Ferguson also progressed, showing the form that has served him well in America, where he has won a number of times on junior circuits based out of Hilton Head, where he studies.

Ferguson, a SGU Boys Performance Squad player, saw off Lewys Anderson from Deeside by two holes and said: “It was a tough match and I just had to grind it out. I was four up with seven to play and then he started throwing birdies at me.

“I managed to close it out at 18 to make things go my way. I'm a lot fitter and stronger from my time in America. My best in the Scottish Boys is the fourth round so hopefully I can go further this year.”

With the first-round ties complete, the second-round action began late in the day, with the top seed Ewan Scott among those to quickly progress.

The St Andrews player achieved a 6&5 win over Calum Morrison from Inverurie and was happy with his opening work. “I was solid with no bogeys and a couple of birdies. I had some close matches last year on the way to the final (lost to Craig Howie at Murcar Links) so it's good to get this win early, as it's a gruelling week.”

Other big winners late in the day were Andrew Burgess (Nairn), Murray McCrone (Troon Welbeck) and Ross Robertson (Old Course Ranfurly).

As darkness fell, Greorge Burns, the fourth seed, dug deep to edge out Alexander Wilson (Renaissance) at the 18th. The Williamwood player had been two down with eight to play.

Burns now meets Ben Kinsley in the third round, with the St Andrews player, a past semi-finalist in the event, in fine form to win 7&6 against Aidan Husenne (Haggs Castle).

In the final game out, there was arguably the biggest shock of the event so far, as Connar Cook (Caird Park) lost out 2&1 to Louis Murray of Troon Welbeck. Cook reached the semi-finals at Murcar 12 months ago.

>> Click here for scores from the first & second-rounds of the Scottish Boys Championship, supported by TaylorMade-adidas Golf

>> Click here for photos from the Scottish Boys Championship on SGU Facebook

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