Bradley Neil at least put a gloss on a tough weekend by finally getting the two birdies everyone thinks they should get off Wentworth’s final two holes, but it only added up to a second 74 and four shots gone over the last two rounds in his BMW PGA Championship debut.
Midway on Friday afternoon the 22-year-old from Blairgowrie was flying inside the top 15 at six-under with three holes to play in his second round, but finished 5-5-6, and then found Wentworth tricky on a blustery Saturday.
“Two-over was actually a decent score on Saturday but any way you look at it, four shots dropped on the weekend and 25 to 30 spots dropped in the field is disappointing,” he admitted.
“Today through ten holes I was four-over (for the day) but I knew conditions were perfect for scoring, there was no wind again and the rain overnight made the greens soft. By then I realised I wasn’t going to finish that high up and it was basically damage limitation.”
He did get those two birdies at the last two, getting up and down from the back of the 17th green and then again from a nasty downhill lie in the bunker at the back of the 18th, holing out from eight feet to get himself back to level par for the championship.
“I’ve been looking to see the difference between finishing 61st and 58th and I knowitt doesn’t seem a lot, but I’m sure over the last 20 years there were a few guys who ended up 111th or 112th on the Order of Merit who could have used that couple of thousand euro,” he said.
“It’s the biggest event I’ve played in as a professional, and the biggest crowds since I played in the US Open (as an amateur in 2015). It’s been a fantastic week and I’ve had a great time.
“This was one of the events I really wanted to play in when I got my card and at the sdtart of the year I didn’t really think I was going to get in. Delighted to have got out there and made the cut and shown a bit of what I’m capable of.”
It’s now on to Italy and the second of the Rolex Series events, and at least he has a foundation to build on.
“I’ve never been to this particular course but I have good memories from Italy playing well in the Challenge Tour event there last season,” he added. “There’s a lot to build on from here for Italy and for the rest of the year.”
The three more experienced Scots left in the field weren’t able to shoot out the lights on the weekend. Richie Ramsay had a solid par round of 72 for a five-under finish in a share of 32nd place, the best placed Scot for the week.
Stephen Gallacher was the only one of the Scots to go under par on the final day but only just with a one-under-par 71, finishing on that for the championship. Marc Warren, battling his swing most of the week, slumped to three bogeys in his last four holes to finish one-over.