First-round relief for Raymond

Corhampton GC's Neil Raymond Picture: Andrew Griffin
Corhampton GC's Neil Raymond Picture: Andrew Griffin
Scott Gregory. Picture: Andrew Griffin

Gregory misses out

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Neil Raymond was a relieved man after surviving a first-round encounter with Hampshire team-mate Sam Robertshawe in the English Amateur Championship at Silloth-on-Solway GC.

The 26-year-old, from Corhampton GC, admitted the 4&3 scoreline flattered him in his shoot-out with The Army Golf Club member.

Raymond said: ‘I am just relieved to make it through the first round, having gone out at that stage for the past three years.’

The England international, who became the first player to win back-to-back Brabazon Trophy titles in 50 years last month, is bidding to become only the third amateur to land an English double – behind Mark Foster (1995) and amateur legend Sir Michael Bonallack (1968).

The match was fairly even in blustery conditions on the Cumbrian coast, despite birdies by Raymond on the eighth and ninth.

But from one up with six to play, the Hampshire man birdied the par-five 13th and then sank his putt for an eagle three at the next, before adding another birdie at 15 to close out the match.

Raymond added: ‘I didn’t play great golf up until that point but I have more experience of playing in the wind than Sam and had better control of my ball flight, which was the difference.’

He will now face Kent champion Adam Hedges (or Rotherham’s Dominic Moon) today for a place in the last 16, with the quarter and semi-finals due to be played on Friday, followed by the 36-hole final on Saturday.

– ANDREW GRIFFIN