NEIL Raymond’s dream of becoming the first Hampshire golfer to win the British Amateur Championship was dashed by one of his England team-mates at Kent’s Royal Cinque Ports links.
The Corhampton ace was unable to fight his way back from three down at the turn against Northumbria’s Garrick Porteous to lose the quarter-final clash on the 17th 2&1.
Porteous, who won the Scottish Amateur Strokeplay title earlier this month, has been a regular alongside Raymond in the English team and shares the Titchfield man’s ambition of playing for Great Britain & Ireland in August’s Walker Cup on New York’s Long Island.
Raymond virtually booked his ticket to America with victory in the prestigious St Andrews Links Trophy at the home of golf two weeks ago, becoming the first Hampshire player since Justin Rose in 1997 to do so.
That was the year Rose also became the youngest player to appear in the Walker Cup at the age of 17.
He, of course, became the first Englishman to win a major in 16 years at the US Open last weekend – and Raymond has now posted the best CV of an amateur hailing from Hampshire since the North Hants Golf Club member began impressing around the Fleet course as a teenager.
Raymond, however, won’t have the privilege of automatic entry to this year’s Open Championship at Muirfield or an invite to the 2014 Masters at Augusta – the rewards given to the winner of the British amateur crown.
But he can’t be too downhearted despite failing to progress beyond the last eight in Kent against Porteous.
‘I got off to a slow start, then holed a great putt to eagle the fifth, then birdied six and eight,’ said Porteous.
‘I was three up after nine and was feeling confident but I know Neil is a quality player and was always going to come back strong so just had to grind in.
‘We both had birdies on 10, then I knew I just had to par in from there. Neil played solidly and didn’t really make any mistakes.’
– ANDREW GRIFFIN