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Scots golfer Bradley Neil is a different sort of driver during coronavirus crisis

Bradley Neil is doing his bit to help his local community during lockdown
Bradley Neil is doing his bit to help his local community during lockdown

Former amateur sensation Bradley Neil recognises that coronavirus has put his golfing ambitions on hold.

With no prospect of tournament golf for months, Neil is working as a delivery driver for Tesco in Perth, next door to St Johnstone’s McDiarmid Park ground.

The money is coming in handy, but the 2014 Amateur Champion admits he has been driven by a sense of community.

His mother works at Dundee’s Ninewells Hospital, logging the numbers of coronavirus patients coming in and out.

So, inspired by living with a key worker at the family home in Meigle, Neil has been taking shopping to those in need.

“I applied for the job a bit for the money,” said the Challenge Tour player.

“Obviously, for the time being it’s hard, and I have ambitions like wanting to have my own home with my girlfriend.

“But it’s also because I thought lockdown would be more serious – like in Italy or France – where you would need paperwork to leave home.

“My mum works for the NHS, so I didn’t want to be sat at home doing nothing while she was putting herself at risk going into hospital.

“She’s going in every day and it’s ruling her life.

“Right now, the supermarkets are super-busy, and I am delivering to so many vulnerable people. They are so thankful and complimentary, it makes you feel like you are doing your bit and playing your part.

“In many cases, I might be the only person they have seen in weeks because they are stuck at home, not allowed to see anyone else.”

Bradley does not know how long his role at Tesco will carry on.

There are no events scheduled on the Challenge Tour until mid-July at the earliest, but he is realistic about how the rest of the season may look.

After finishing 62nd on the second-tier circuit, 2020 was supposed to be the year to embark upon a promotion campaign back onto the European Tour.

Having not made any money from three events in South Africa in February, it was not the start to the season he would have liked.

“It feels like fast forward to 2021,” said the 24-year-old. “It’s incredibly frustrating, because golf is on hold and a year is passing by without getting back to the elite levels of golf.

“So it’s tough not to see it as a year missed. Being realistic, I would be happy to play three to five tournaments in Europe on the Challenge Tour for the rest of the season.

“I’m a great one for history, and I know the ages great players have done things and I’ll be 25 when I am back to playing regular golf.

“But I can’t focus on age. I have to work at it, believe and go grab my chance.

“I have loads of motivation, though. Two years ago, I was one of the up-and-coming players, but there are so many Scots ahead of me now, which is great for the game at pro level in Scotland.

“You see so many guys plodding away for 10 or 15 years, and you think: ‘Why are you still out here?’.Suddenly it all comes right for them.

“I’m not comfortable with where I am, but there is no question in what I’m doing.”

Bradley would just love to get back on to the fairways at his local club, Blairgowrie.

He adds: “I’m hitting balls in the net in my back garden, but I just want to see a ball fly off into the air.

“It’s refreshing to hear people like Rory and Tiger finding it tough to practice right now. I worried it was just me!”