Hill continues to grow in stature with Tour win

The San Juan Open is a pro event and it seems as though Calum Hill has turned pro as there are pics of him receiving a cheque.
The San Juan Open is a pro event and it seems as though Calum Hill has turned pro as there are pics of him receiving a cheque.

Calum Hill has been turning heads in the golfing world since bursting onto the scene at the US Open in the middle of June.

The Scot, who grew up in Kinross before leaving to study in the States a few years ago, came through a regional qualifier to qualify for the Major.

Before leaving he’d had decent enough success as an amateur which continued in America.

But few sports fans in Scotland knew his name before making his Major debut.

In a field stacked with the world’s best golfers, the 23-year-old made the cut at Shinnecock Hills and his exciting rise through the ranks hasn’t stopped since.

He narrowly missed out on making the Scottish Open on home soil before dipping his toe into the choppy waters of the Challenge Tour last week at the Northern Irish Open.

The Challenge Tour sits below the main European Tour and is a grind of journeymen pros aiming to win full Euro Tour rights and hungry young players trying to force their way onto the bigger stage.

But in just his fifth Challenge Tour event, the Kinross man surged up the leaderboard on Sunday to lift the title with a 64 thanks to birdies at four of his final five holes.

Scott Henry appeared a certain winner as he led by three on 22 under par after 15 holes.

However, a double bogey on 16 was followed by two closing bogeys at Galgorm Castle.

After the event, Hill said: “I can’t believe it.

“On the stretch I was hitting a few great shots and was holing a few great putts but I thought it would be for second or third place – not for the victory.

“I really narrowly missed a putt on 18 for eagle which was just hanging over the edge – I thought that would make it interesting as Scott was 22 under when I was going down 17 and I made a birdie to get to 18 under.

“I didn’t even think it would be close.

“It didn’t even cross my mind as I was playing 18.

“I hit two nice shots and just tried to give the putter a run, and thought it was a nice finish to a great nine holes.

“With the par five 18th to play I honestly thought Scott had a chance of winning still, and I wasn’t thinking that I would be the champion.

“I came into the week trying to just rise up the rankings as much as I could and at the end of the season keep my card as this is just my fifth start on the Challenge Tour and I’m playing on invites.

“So to now have a category and have everything sorted is a bit of a joke – it’s absolutely brilliant isn’t it?

“My girlfriend has been trying to call me from America – so I can’t wait to call her back and tell her the good news.”

The victory sees Hill rise up 156 places on the Challenge Tour’s Road to Ras Al Khaimah to 43rd position with 33,379 points.