BURNHAM ON SEA, SOMERSET, ENGLAND (June 24, 2011) -- Neil Raymond is stamping his mark on the Brabazon Trophy, supported by SkyCaddie. A second round 68 allied to his superb opening 70, leaves the England international on 138, four under par, and two strokes ahead of the field at the halfway mark. (Picture © Tom Ward)Ireland’s Alan Dunbar also carded 68 to be Raymond’s closest challenger, while another Irishman, Reeve Whitson and Philip McLean from Scotland are joint third on 145, seven shots adrift of Raymond.
After the ravages of the wind-dominated opening round at Burnham and Berrow, day two was a story of calmer and much cooler conditions with rain closing in late in the afternoon.Consequently, scoring was generally much lower while the cream certainly came to the top over the challenging Somerset links.
But Raymond was as solid as ever although he was still a little frustrated with his putting. “I tried to think about the differences in distance the drives would travel in the different conditions to put myself in good positions off the tee,” he said.
“It worked well but some of my putting still left me frustrated. I hit a lot of greens and gave myself a lot of chances. I’m happy but there is a long way to go. I’ve got to keep plugging away and get the putting a bit better. I feel I can hole a lot more.”
Despite his misgivings about his form on the greens, Raymond still signed for five birdies but had back-to-back bogeys at the fifth and sixth in an outward 35.
Raymond apart, there is a distinct celtic feel about the leaderboard with the Irish, Scots and Welsh well in the hunt, none more so than Dunbar, who also came home in 33 for his 68.
He would have been sharing the lead if he hadn’t finished bogey-bogey. “I didn’t hit a bad shot at the short 17th but it got a bad bounce,” he admitted. “I chipped to ten feet but missed the putt.“
But I did hit a bad tee shot at 18 into the rough and missed from eight feet for par. It was a disappointing finish but I played well and had it going for a while.” He certainly did as the 21 year old from Rathmore found six birdies.McLean, omitted from Scotland’s European Men’s Championship team, returned a bogey-free 69 with just two birdies, at the third and eighth. “Strangely I didn’t hit the ball was well as yesterday but I scrambled really well,” he said.
“I struggled off the tee for the first eight holes but I putted well and holed a lot of ten to 12 footers for par.”Whitson, from Ireland, slipped back slightly with 72 after an indifferent front nine of 38 that contained a run of three successive bogeys from the fifth. But his four birdies rescued the round from serious damage.On a day when 15 players beat par, three England internationals moved themselves into contention. Todd Adcock returned 72 and Dave Coupland 69 for a share of fifth place on 146, while Andy Sullivan is a shot further back after a 72.
Josh Loughrey is another in fifth after a 70, while boy cap Seb Crookall-Nixon added 71 to his opening 76 to book his place for the weekend.
The halfway cut came at 154, 12 over par with 69 players surviving for the final 36 holes.
Defending champion Darren Wright departed on 155 but had the satisfaction of a 69 as he prepares for the European Men’s Team Championships in Portugal.