BURNHAM ON SEA, SOMERSET, ENGLAND (June 25, 2011) -- Another typical day at Burnham that started sunny and calm but ended in a stiff breeze left Neil Raymond even more strongly entrenched at the top in the chase for the Brabazon Trophy, supported by SkyCaddie.
A round of 74 for 212, one under par, leaves the England international five strokes clear of the field and with every chance of replacing his Hampshire colleague Darren Wright as champion.
The forecast of a hot summer day didn’t materialise. The early starters - those at the back of the field - enjoyed an easier ride but as the day progressed so conditions slowly worsened and it was the leaders who were put to the test.
Overall only eight of the 68-strong field beat par as the Burnham links won the battle and there were many wounds needing soothing at the end.
“It was a tough wind and stronger than yesterday,” said Raymond. “I didn’t play as well as the previous two rounds but it was just a round of golf. I didn’t putt that badly but the pins were in some tricky places so it wasn’t easy.”
Raymond, who teed-off with a two-shot lead over Ireland’s Alan Dunbar, had an indifferent start with two bogeys. But he parred his way to the turn in 38, then fell further back with dropped shots at 11 and 12. His only birdie came at the long 13th before he parred his way in.
“I missed a lot of chances coming in like I had before but whether I’m a good front-runner we’ll see tomorrow. At least I’ll be playing with my good friend Andy Sullivan.”
Sullivan, the Scottish Stoke Play champion and set for his England debut in next month’s European Men’s Team Championships, was one who defied the weather with a solid 70 for 217, while boy cap Seb Crookall-Nixon lies third, a shot further back after a level-par 71.
Sullivan had three birdies in his 70, coming home in 34, while Crookall-Nixon deviated from par on many more occasions in his 71.
His front nine of 36 contained only two pars along with four birdies and three bogeys and he would have moved into second spot but for further bogeys at 15 and 17.
It wasn’t a good day for the Celts. Dunbar ran up two double-bogeys including a lost ball at the fourth in his birdie-free 79, going out in 40 which dropped him back into joint fourth but seven shots behind Raymond.
Scotland’s Philip McLean matched Raymond’s 74 but Reeve Whitson from Ireland, joint third overnight, signed for 77 and joint 17th on 222.
But there was a score to be achieved from the Burnham links and Pedro Figueiredo, the Portuguese international, did just that with a course record 67 to move up to equal 11th on 221.
Out at 8.26am in perfect weather, he covered the front nine in 31 strokes with an eagle and three birdies. Two birdies were secured with chip-ins which meant he needed only nine putts going out. His only bogey came at the 15th otherwise a 66 was on the cards.
“That was an amazing front nine,” said the 20 year old at college in Los Angeles. “But I took advantage of the conditions and my only mistake came when I got my yardages wrong at 15.”
Daniel Gavins from Yorkshire almost matched Figueiredo, his 68 for 221 puts him out with the Portuguese tomorrow in what could be a low-scoring combination.
In the race for the Scrutton Jug for the best aggregate from the Berkshire and Brabazon Trophies, Matthew Stieger from Australia leads on 505 but a shot from Wiltshire’s Josh Loughrey.
The Henriques Salver for the best GB&I player aged under 20 is in the hands of Crookall-Nixon on 218, two clear of the rest.