Neal hopes to be captain marvel at Gleneagles



Ian Neal believes he has bucked the trend of taking on the club captaincy as he prepares for the final of The Lombard Trophy.

Neal has successfully teamed up with Kedleston Park PGA Professional Ian Walley to reach two finals this year.

The Derbyshire duo will head to Turkey for the PGA Pro-Captain Challenge in November, after competing at Gleneagles in the pro-am showpiece.

Neal and Walley will line-up in the £43,600 grand final which will be held at the venue for next year’s Ryder Cup on September 3-4.

And Neal admits the club captain is not supposed to enjoy this level of form.

The chartered accountant, who plays off a handicap of eight, said: “People always tell me that the captain’s form will suffer that year because of all the other responsibilities they have to deal with - but that certainly hasn’t happened with me.

“It’s been a busy year but with it has come the two finals with Ian Walley. He’s been giving me lessons and they’ve clearly paid off.

“But it’s unusual for the club captain to qualify for The Lombard Trophy and then reach both finals.

“Gleneagles will be a great experience for us and it’s all about us trying to keep our game honed.”

Walley knows how to win as he is the reigning PGA Pro-Captain champion, a title he won while working at his former club Shirland.

And their new professional Tim Stevens will also be playing at Gleneagles.

Walley said: “Tim was at Kedleston and went for the job when I left Shirland.

“It’s quite a coincidence that we’re both in the final so that’ll be good.

“Myself and Ian play well as a team, so we have a chance. But whatever happens, it’s been a very good year for us.

“Ian’s gone above and beyond in the way he’s played.”

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