Raymond ready to fight back

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Harry Ellis in action during in his second round at The Open

Ellis feels at home despite missing Open cut

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Neil Raymond remains convinced he will make it as a professional golfer, despite a baptism of fire in his maiden year on the circuit.

The 28-year-old from Titchfield failed to make it through the second stage of European Tour Qualifying School last week as his hopes of earning a card were ended at Lumine in Spain.

But the Corhampton professional has not lost faith that he is capable of mixing it with the best in Europe even though his first year in the pro ranks has not lived up to expectations after his glittering amateur career.

And he is keen to show the drive and determination to add to his undoubted talent as he bids to bridge the gap.

Raymond said: ‘It’s not been anywhere near the year I wanted but it’s not something that will break me.

‘It won’t stop me going forward. It’s just a bit of a hurdle.

‘It’s not the end of me and I still believe there is a lot more to come.

‘On the whole, I’m feeling pretty good.

‘I’m disappointed with the way it’s gone but as a golfer, you are going to lose a lot more than you win. I know that.

‘I played a few Challenge Tour events and some on the Jamega Tour.

‘To be honest, I haven’t played enough.

‘It’s partly my own fault because I needed better results on Challenge Tour to get some more starts. That obviously didn’t happen.

‘But nobody said it was going to be easy.

‘I came off a rich year as an amateur and didn’t follow that up as much as I’d like as a professional.

‘But I will keep working hard. There is no magic wand.’

Raymond’s best result of the season came on the Challenge Tour where he finished in a tie for 11th place in the Fred Olsen Challenge in Spain.

He was also third in a Jamega Tour event at Leatherhead.

But after lifting some of the top amateur titles in the country and playing in the Walker Cup, he was clearly expecting more.

He said: I didn’t do well on the amateur scene quickly.

‘I took my time, I had hurdles and I was patient.

‘Some people have a good amateur career and come flying out of the blocks as a professional.

‘Others take a bit of time to get to where they want to be.

‘But my swing is in a good place and I will keep working on that to get it more consistent and effective over the winter.

‘Then I will try to come flying out of the blocks next year.

‘I need to address my putting. It has held me back so much this year.

‘I’ve had events where I have putted okay but I have putted poorly in the latter part of the year.

‘The past three tournaments, the longest putt I holed was 15 feet and I think that was twice. I clearly need to work on it.’

After failing to make the final stage of Tour School, Raymond has to decide where to play next term and is weighing up the domestic Europro Tour and the German-based Pro Golf Tour.

He said: ‘I haven’t worked out my schedule yet.

‘I will get seven starts on the Challenge Tour but other than that, I’m not sure. I will either play on Pro Golf Tour or Europro.

‘But I will get away somewhere over the winter to get some good practice in. They say the answer is in the dirt so that means a lot of hard work.’