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RAYMOND HANGS ON FOR AN EMOTIONAL VICTORY
27th June 2011

An emotional Neil Raymond made sure the Brabazon Trophy, supported by SkyCaddie, remains in Hampshire for another year with a final round 75 for 287, three over par, succeeding his county colleague Darren Wright.

Neil Raymond (Photo Tom Ward & EGU)

Raymond (picture © Tom Ward) finished a shot ahead of playing partner Andy Sullivan with 71 and Ireland's Alan Dunbar with 69, joint second on 288 while England boy cap Seb Crookall-Nixon was a shot further back after a third successive level-par 71. Joint fifth on 292, after a course record 64, was Ben Stow.

As summer arrived at Burnham and Berrow with a vengeance, the 25 year old from Corhampton Golf Club overcame the disappointment of not making the England team for the European Men's Team Championships and the sudden death of his grandfather during the championship.

"I learned about my granddad on Thursday after my round," he said. "I thought of pulling out but glad I didn't so I dedicate this victory to him and to my parents.

"This win means so much for many reasons. It's the biggest stroke play event in England but this has been a tough week. Today wasn't how I planned it. I didn't play as well as I'd liked. My putter was cold all day, apart from the eighth, where I made a good birdie.

"But I turned up to do a job and that was to beat everyone else. I didn't know what the others were doing on the course, only my playing partner Andy. Credit to him, he came out of the blocks and we were level through nine. Then we matched each other every hole until he, unfortunately, made bogey at 17."

Raymond went into the final round with a five-shot lead but that soon disappeared as he ran up bogeys at the first, fifth and sixth, while Sullivan birdied the fourth and eighth.

As the temperature rose, so did the pressure on the leaders as Seb Crookall-Nixon and Ireland's Alan Dunbar came into the picture.

Both got within striking distance of the leaders, Dunbar recovering from his only dropped shot at the second with birdies at the fourth, eighth and 16th. That final birdie pointed to a second Irish victory in three years. But it wasn't to be.

Crookall-Nixon, the English under 16 Champion in 2008 and 2009, got himself into the frame with three front nine birdies. But a double-bogey six at the 12th set him back yet he had the consolation of winning the Henriques Salver for the best finish by a GB&I player under the age of 20.

Meanwhile, Raymond and Sullivan were battling neck and neck until that bogey-four at the short 17th dented Sullivan's hopes.

That left Raymond a shot ahead playing the par-four last where both found the green in regulation. Sullivan needed to hole from 20 feet to force a playoff but he missed while Raymond took the two he needed for victory.

Stow's course record was amazing. He was out in 31 and back in 33 to beat the new mark of 67 set by Portugal's Pedro Figueiredo in round three.

"I was hoping for a good week but this round was solid but not amazing," said Stow. "I holed nothing all week but today every putt went in".  "I'd only played here once before, when I was 11 years old and I think I shot 100."

While Crookall-Nixon collected the Henriques Salver, the Scrutton Jug for the best aggregate from the Brabazon and Berkshire Trophies went to Josh Loughrey from Wrag Barn on 579.

Full results, championship interviews and photos can be found on the Championships section of the EGU website  www.englishgolfunion.org .










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