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Corhampton golfer Neil Raymond is "over the moon" at Walker Cup selection
Corhampton’s Neil Raymond has realised his dream of making it into the Great Britain & Ireland Walker Cup team.
The 27-year-old had his place in the squad confirmed yesterday and will now prepare to face the United States next month.
“I am absolutely over the moon,” he said. “From the start of probably last winter, when I began training for this year, the Walker Cup has been one of the biggest goals on my agenda.
“I think the team we have got looks really strong to take forward into America.”
The two-time Brabazon Trophy champion nailed down his place in the team with a superb season, in which he was crowned the winner of the St Andrews Links Trophy, reached the final of the Spanish Amateur Championship, and made the last-eight of both the British and US Amateur.
Raymond, who is set to turn professional following the Walker Cup, will travel to the National Golf Links of America, in Southampton, New York, where the competition will take place on September 7 and 8.
GB&I won the prestigious trophy two years ago and will now bid to defend their title on foreign soil.
Captain Nigel Edwards explained to the Daily Echo why Raymond had been selected.
“Over the last three years, Neil has proven himself to be a winner and a great team player,” he said.
“He’s won the Brabazon Trophy twice, won the St Andrews Links Trophy and proven himself to be a good match player. He reached the final of the Spanish Amateur, the quarters of the US Amateur and the quarters of the Australian Amateur.
“Neil has proven he can play anywhere in the world and he is a very worthy selection.”
Raymond’s coach, Corhampton’s Ian Roper, also expressed his delight.
“I am absolutely chuffed for him, he thoroughly deserves it. He’s great to work with, he really is good fun, and it’s always nice when you work with someone and you see them get great rewards,” said Roper, who Raymond has always put great faith in.
Raymond's selection means he becomes the first Hampshire player since Sam Hutsby, in 2009, to play in the Walker Cup.
The Liphook member, who is now a Tour professional, said: “It’s fantastic news. He has had a really good year and it’s great to have another Hampshire player in the squad.
“Playing in it was one of the best experiences I have ever had in my career, and to have all my family out there, as I imagine Neil will, made it all the more special.
“He’s going to have a great week and I wish him the best of luck.”
Raymond’s regular foursomes partner for the Hampshire first-team, Martin Young, also added his congratulations.
He said: “I’m really pleased for him, and also for his mum and dad, because they support him so much and go everywhere with him. He deserves it.”
GB&I: Matt Fitzpatrick (Yorkshire), Nathan Kimsey (Lincolnshire), Gavin Moynihan (Ireland), Max Orrin (Kent), Kevin Phelan (Ireland), Garrick Porteous (Northumberland), Rhys Pugh (Wales), Neil Raymond (Hampshire), Callum Shinkwin (Hertfordshire), Jordan Smith (Wiltshire). Reserves: Greg Eason (Leicestershire), Ryan Evans (Northamptonshire).
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