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Corhampton's Neil Raymond finishes second in the Spanish Amateur Championship
5:49pm Sunday 3rd March 2013 in Sport
Corhampton golfer Neil Raymond took the runners-up prize at the Spanish Amateur Championship after losing to Ireland's Reeve Whitson in the final of the prestigious tournament this afternoon.
Hampshire star Raymond put up a strong fight in the 36-hole showdown at the La Manga Club, but eventually succumbed to a 4&3 defeat.
Raymond had hoped to follow up his former county teammate Sam Hutsby's victory in the tournament back in 2006.
He looked on course to do so, having cruised through the stroke play qualifying rounds, before storming into the final with a series of comprehensive match play wins.
Raymond started the final well, taking a one-hole lead with a birdie at the par-five fourth. After Whitson squared the match at the sixth, Raymond nosed back in front on the ninth.
It was to be the last time he held the lead, however, as Whitson drew level at the very next hole before taking the lead for good at the 13th.
After his opponent extended his advantage, Raymond got himself back to just one-down early in the second round, but the Irishman was able to hold him off, eventually finishing the match on the 33rd hole of the final.
While there will be understandable disappointment for Raymond, securing a second-place in one of Europe's top amateur competitions is another feather in his cap.
The England international has won the last two Brabazon Trophy titles and is hoping to secure a place in this year's Great Britain & Ireland Walker Cup squad.
His bid to make the team that will travel to New York in September will have further been strengthened by his display in Spain.
Meon Valley teenager Harry Ellis also competed at La Manga, but the reigning English Amateur champion was unable to advance through the stroke play stages.