Raymond back to form with St Andrews Links triumph

Neil Raymond

Neil Raymond warmed up for the defence of his Brabazon Trophy in a fortnight by winning the St Andrews Links Trophy at the Home of Golf.

The England international, who has not hit top form so far this season, was lying equal 16th at the halfway mark. But closing rounds of 68 and 69 saw him finish on 282, six under par, two strokes ahead of England team-mate Nathan Kimsey, boy cap Max Orrin and Ryan Evans.

Raymond’s (image copyright St Andrews Links Trust) victory is the third by an English player in the past four years following the successes of Tom Lewis (2011) and Matt Southgate (2010).

“I’ve always wanted to win here at St Andrews so this is special,” said Raymond. “I putted well today. I’ve been working hard of that part of my game recently and it paid off.”

Trailing by six strokes at the halfway stage, Raymond’s third round 68 containing five birdies hoisted him to equal third on 213, two behind joint leaders Evans and Gregoire Schoeb from France.

The 27 year old from the Corhampton club in Hampshire was on fire at the start of the final round. He birdied the first three holes and despite dropping a shot at the fourth, secured another birdie at the fifth to be out in 33.

He came home in level par 36 with two bogeys and two birdies, the scond at the 18th to set the target on six under. He would have been caught by Orrin, winner of the South East of England Links Championship and the Lagonda Trophy in the past month, but the Kent 19 year old double-bogeyed the 17th to finish with 71.

Kimsey, who began the round one behind Raymond, posted his second 70 of the day for a share of second spot, while Evans, the first round leader over the Jubilee course with 66, finished with 73.

Leading final scores:

282 N Raymond (Corhampton) 72 73 68 69

284 N Kimsey (Woodhall Spa) 68 76 70 70, R Evans (Wellingborough) 66 73 72 73, M Orrin (North Foreland) 73 70 70 71

285 J McDonald (Kilmarnock Barassie) 71 76 67 71. J Zunic (Australia) 72 71 69 73, N Holman (Australia) 74 71 72 68