Brabazon joy for Raymond again

Titchfield's Neil Raymond has got his hands on the Brabazon Trophy once again    Picture: Tom Ward/EGU
Titchfield's Neil Raymond has got his hands on the Brabazon Trophy once again Picture: Tom Ward/EGU
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Titchfield’s Neil Raymond achieved his goal when he successfully defended the Brabazon Trophy in the wind and rain at Walton Heath.

A closing round of 72 left him two strokes clear of playing partner Kevin Phelan, from Ireland, also with 72, and three ahead of the fast-finishing Jamie Rutherford.

The 26-year-old Raymond made history by becoming the first player in more than 20 years to win two Brabazons in a row and the first for more than 50 years to hold the English Amateur Open Strokeplay Championship crown on his own in successive years.

‘I’m delighted,’ said the Corhampton Golf Club member. ‘I didn’t play as well as in previous rounds but I got the job done. I had a few touchy moments but I made a couple of good saves when I needed.’

The save that counted most came on the 190-yard seventh when Raymond fired a six iron over the green into the trees.

He was out in 37 but birdied the 12th and 13th to get back into red figures and also birdied the long 16th.

Raymond made a great sand save at the 206-yard 17th and could even afford to drop a shot at the last and still win comfortably.

It meant the Hampshire, Isle of Wight and Channel Islands Golf Union have provided the winner three years in a row – another first in the Brabazon’s 66-year history.

Rowlands Castle’s ex-England amateur international Darren Wright, who now plays on the European Challenge Tour and the Alps Tour, won it at Royal Liverpool in 2010 before turning pro at the end of last year.

Raymond joins a past winners’ honours board that includes Sandy Lyle, Paul Way, Peter Baker, Peter Hanson and Ignacio Garrido, who have all gone on to play in the Ryder Cup after winning the Brabazon.

He is also only the third Hampshire player to hold the English Strokeplay title.