Raymond boosted by qualifying display

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NEIL RAYMOND has taken confidence from his peformance at The Open final qualifying, despite missing out on a place at St Andrew’s.

The Corhampton man was atempting to beat the odds by taking one of just three places up for grabs at Royal Cinque Ports in Kent with 72 players chasing a spot.

Lee-on-the-Solent’s James Ablett and Hayling amateur Jamie Mist were also trying their luck at at the same venue, while Corhampton club mate Scott Gregory was atempting to seize his chance at Woburn near Milton Keynes.

Raymond, who has just recovered from a knee injury, shot rounds of 73 and then fired five birdies in a fine one-under-par 70 in his second round to finish at one over par – six strokes behind the trio who earned their place.

Mist was one stroke better after rounds of 70 and 72, while Ablett finished at four over par after carding 72 and 74.

Gregory, meanwhile, had a day to forget at Woburn after his 79, 75 left him way down the field at 10 over par.

But Raymond has taken heart from his display.

‘I’m really disappointed not to make it through but I played nicely.

‘I made a few bad swings and round a tough course, you will get punished. But I’m happy with my game and excited about the next couple of weeks. It has definitely given me some confidence. I haven’t competed for nearly two weeks because of my knee but it felt good again.’

n Tom Robson and Scott Gregory were the pick of the local amateurs at last week’s Brabazon Trophy.

The duo both finished in a tie for 39th at six over par, with Irishman Cormac Sharvin carrying off the coveted title of English Amateur Strokeplay champion with a fine seven-under-par total.

Robson from Rowlands Castle posted rounds of 73, 72, 73, 76, while Gregory carded 76, 71, 74 and 73.

Hayling’s Darren Walkley had a mixed tournament to finish 48th at eight over par.

He shot rounds of 76, 72 and 70 but a disappointing final round 78 saw him drop back.

Hayling club mate, Kevin Hickman, missed the cut.