Raymond refuses to rest on laurels

Neil Raymond
Neil Raymond
Scott Gregory. Picture: Habibur Rahman

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Neil Raymond insists he will not overlook the small details as he chases further amateur honours.

The Titchfield-based England international has just returned from a successful Australian trip, which saw him lift the New South Wales Stroke Play Championship.

His form has also seen him selected for Great Britain & Ireland’s 12-man preliminary squad for the St Andrew’s Trophy – a high-profile team clash against Europe at Portmarnock in Ireland in August.

The team will eventually be whittled down to nine but it is further proof Raymond is in the elite bracket of amateur golfers as he prepares for another domestic campaign.

However, he has revealed he is still keen to improve his putting after recent inconsistency.

Raymond said: ‘Some players can neglect that side of the game and I possibly have a little bit in the past – preferring to get my swing and my ball-striking ability to a better standard.

‘It’s something I need to address a little bit better and work a little bit harder at.

‘My putting isn’t a worry. I did some good putting work at the beginning of the trip with our England coach.

‘It’s the best I’ve putted consistently for a very long time. I got a new putter and it was going well but they just weren’t dropping.

‘I know it will come. It’s never ever bothered someone like Lee Westwood or Sergio Garcia, who are not fantastic putters.

‘Westwood got to world number one by purely being a great tee to green player.

‘Garcia has been renowned as being a poor putter but has played in Ryder Cups and won a lot of tournaments all round the world. But I’ve proved, when I putt well, I can win or compete. So if I can get the putter going more often, I will be right up there.’

Raymond’s hectic schedule takes him to the Spanish Amateur Championship at La Canada, Cadiz next week.

He goes into the high-profile event with confidence, despite battling some unexpected elements in Australia.

He said: ‘I’m looking forward to getting back into competitive action again.

‘It was a good trip all round in Australia but the weather was pretty average.

‘In Melbourne, we had low temperatures and a three-club wind, so it was just like being at home really!

‘It was crazy – one day there were 75mph winds and it was called off. You could hardly stand up.

‘Even the tournament I won was reduced to two rounds because of the weather.

‘But it proved a massive point on how you should strive to get as far up the leaderboard as early as you can because you never quite know what’s going to happen.’