Walker Cup 2013: Neil Raymond relishing dream appearance

Hampshire golfer Neil Raymond has vowed to end his amateur career in style by helping Great Britain and Ireland retain the Walker Cup this weekend.

Raymond is part of a 10-strong team who will take on the United States at the National Golf Links of America course.

Walker Cup facts and figures

  • The Walker Cup is a biennial 10-man amateur team competition between a team composed of players from Great Britain and Ireland and the USA.
  • It will be played over two days (7/8 September) with 18 singles matches and eight foursomes matches.
  • First played in 1922, GB & Ireland had to wait until 1938 to record their first victory, since when they have won eight of the 43 meetings - six of those victories over the Americans having come since 1989.

The 27-year-old will turn professional after the competition and is relishing the prospect of taking on the US having missed out on selection two years ago.

"It's something I've worked for since missing out," Raymond told BBC South.

He added: "Missing out made me re-focus and realise what I needed to do to get to the next level.

"I wasn't good enough to be part of that team then and I look back and it was the right decision and made me work even harder.

"I'm really happy with the way I've performed this year to make the dream possible."

Raymond has had a fine 12 months, winning the St Andrew's Links Trophy and reaching the quarter-finals of the US Amateur Championship.

He will be the oldest member of the squad and says he hopes that experience will help him cope with the huge crowds that are expected during the tournament.

"It'll be a case of going out there and being part of a team of 10 guys who have earned the right to be there," he added.

"I am another one on the list. I feel pretty good about my chances of winning a few points.

GB & I team: M Fitzpatrick (Hallamshire, South Yorkshire), N Kimsey (Woodhall Spa, Lincolnshire), G Moynihan (The Island, Dublin), M Orrin (North Foreland, Kent), K Phelan (Waterford Castle, County Waterford), G Porteous (Bamburgh Castle, Northumberland), R Pugh (Pontypridd, Mid Glamorgan), N Raymond (Corhampton, Hampshire), C Shinkwin (Moor Park, Hertfordshire), J Smith (Bowood, Wiltshire).

Reserves: G Eason (Kirby Muxloe, Leicestershire), R Evans (Wellingborough, Northamptonshire).

"They are estimating around 8,000 to 10000 people there so the crowd will be vocal. A lot of my friends and family are going and I expect my mum to be going nuts.

"It should be good fun and I'm really looking forward to playing in America again."

Ironically, the tournament is in Southampton in the state of New York, and Southampton-born Briton Raymond says it is the ideal venue to end his amateur career.

"As soon as I found that out it gave me a new boost," he said.

"Obviously being born in Southampton in seemed like the right way to end an amateur career in Southampton,.

"To start in Southampton and finish in Southampton is perfect."

And of their chances of retaining the trophy , Raymond added: "We'll do everything in our power to bring it home.

"If the 10 we are taking can play their best then we have a great possibility of bringing it home."

Schedule

All times BST

Friday, 6 September 2013

United States Practice Round - 12:30

Great Britain & Ireland Practice Round - 13:30

Practice Rounds will conclude at approximately 17:30

Flag Raising Ceremony - 22:30

Saturday, 7 September 2013

Morning Foursomes Matches: 12:15-17:00

Afternoon Singles Matches: 17:45-23:00

Sunday, 8 September 2013

Morning Foursomes Matches: 12:15-17:00

Afternoon Singles Matches: 17:30-23:00