Scottish Open success gives Calum Hill a Euro Tour appetite

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Calum Hill made a low key start to his Scottish Open campaign in the drizzle on Thursday morning at the Renaissance Club.

By the time he teed off for his final round on Sunday at the North Berwick course, the young Scot, from Kinross, was drenched in sunshine and followed by groups of fans five deep outside the ropes.

The work done by the Challenge Tour pro in his previous three rounds had seen him force his way into the consciousness of the thousands of supporters at the tournament.

Some were familiar to him.

Often during his walk between shots Calum’s attention was attracted by a former playing partner, competitor or fellow club member cheering him on.

But many of them were new fans, youngsters lining up as he walked from the course to have balls and programmes signed.

This was the tournament when the 23-year-old, who crafted his game while studying at Western New Mexico University, arrived.

He’s been given a taste of life on the main tour - and now he wants more.

To do that he’ll need to finish inside the top 15 of the Challenge Tour’s points rankings this season.

As things stand he’s poised to break through, currently in 42nd with plenty more tournaments to come.

“It would be really nice to be out (on the European Tour) week in and week out without having to qualify,” said Calum.

“So that’s the goal.

“I had a great time (at the Scottish Open) and really enjoyed it.”

Only Calum knows where he would have been content finishing before a tournament, which boasted the likes of Rickie Fowler and Rory McIlroy in its field, started.

At no point, though, was he ever in danger of missing the cut mark, and at times flirted with a top 10 finish, before the low scoring on Sunday saw him drop down the leaderboard to a tie for 26th and a joint top Scot finish with Scott Jamieson.

Things could have been even better had it not been for a bogey-bogey finish on Saturday.

“As the tournament goes on, your goals change which made it frustrating to finish poorly on Saturday,” added Calum.

“But, on Sunday, especially on the last five holes, making some birdies, I felt happy coming off.”

Attention now swings back to the Challenge Tour as Calum aims to claw back ground on those ahead of him, including Drumoig’s Connor Syme who sits sixth in the rankings.

While the main focus in the golfing world this week turns from Scotland to the Open Championship at Royal Portrush, Calum will be grinding it out on tour at the Euram Bank Open in Austria.

But he’ll do it with a spring in his step, his experience at the Renaissance Club doing him the world of good.

“Parts of my game have been really nice but it hasn’t quite all been there,” he said.

“Now it feels like it is there.

“I’ve had a problem of just making a mess of my score.

“There are no particular areas of my game I feel are poor, I just don’t score as well as I should.

“This week I didn’t make too many errors with regards to bogeys and my score came together a bit nicer.

“Hopefully that continues for the rest of the Challenge Tour season.”