Masters 2015: Rory McIlroy urges Bradley Neil to be cautious

Bradley Neil and Rory McIlroy shared a practice round at Augusta
Bradley Neil and Rory McIlroy shared a practice round at Augusta

World number one Rory McIlroy has urged amateur champion Bradley Neil not to rush into turning professional.

The pair played a practice round ahead of the Scot's Masters debut this week.

"He said to me there's no rush," revealed 19-year-old Neil, who admits he may turn professional before September's Walker Cup.

"He said my game is good enough to come out here and do well, so there's no rush and just wait until I feel comfortable."

McIlroy and Neil had arranged the practice round after they met at last year's Ryder Cup and their paths also crossed recently as he had his first taste of practising at Augusta.

Neil revealed that, as well as chatting about "girls and football", he again showed the Northern Irishman the best way to play the par-five second hole.

"I holed out from about 90 yards and he couldn't stop laughing because the day we met here I did the exact same thing and he was on the third tee," said Neil.

"I'll remember that round for a long time to come.

"Just getting the chance to play here is memorable, but to get to play with Rory McIlroy just adds to the experience.

"Rory always gets a crowd and the fact that I got to taste that was great.

Stephen Gallacher during his practice round at Augusta
Stephen Gallacher played his practice round with Miguel Angel Jimenez and Jose Maria Olazabal

"I doubt I'll play in front of a crowd like that during the rest of the week. It's going to be easier now."

Neil, who won the Amateur Championship at Royal Portrush last year, admitted his latest trip to Augusta was different from his first.

"It was a bit like coming here for the first time," he said. "It exceeded all my expectations.

"He's a really nice guy and made me feel really comfortable.

"He's only six years older than me, but if I was to even get to where he's at in 15 years, I'd be happy."

Stephen Gallacher, who finished tied for 34th on his own Masters debut last year, was the only Scot to qualify through being in the top 50 of the world rankings.

Asked what advice he had for his compatriot, the 40-year-old said: "Just to keep a smile on his face.

"No matter what happens, just play with no stress.

"Just go round, take it all in and hopefully, when he comes back as a pro, he'll be better off for it.

"There are certain things I did wrong last year and you learn not to get too aggressive at certain times.

"There's holes where you've just got to get your fours and get pars and have a go at the fives."

Gallacher mirrored his own preparations from last year with a practice round with Miguel Angel Jimenez and former Masters champion Jose Maria Olazabal.

"They used to play all their practice rounds with Seve Ballesteros, so you can't buy that kind of insight," said the Scot.

"There are certain places you've got to hit it and certain places you can't hit it.

"Jose's great that way. He's a great strategist. He's good at plotting his way round courses.

"The course is in awesome condition. You've just got to hit it in the right spots."

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