Calum Hill has sights set on Scottish Open spot

Twelve months ago, Calum Hill teed up in the Aberdeen Standard Investments Scottish Open qualifier at Longniddry not really knowing what the future held for him in the golfing world. It’s not yet mission accomplished, but, nonetheless, he is pleased with his progress so far.

Calum Hill will try to qualify for the Aberdeen Standard Investments Scottish Open. Picture: Kenny Smith

In just his fifth outing on the Challenge Tour after returning home following a spell at college in the US, Hill won the Northern Ireland Open at Galgorm Resort before making it all the way to the Ras Al Khaimah Grand Final.

As evidenced by a closing 64 in the Hauts de France - Pas de Calais Open last month, the 24-year-old is starting to build up a head of steam on the second-tier circuit again this season after a sluggish start and has his sights set on graduating to the main tour next year.

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Next up, though, is a return to Longniddry this weekend to try his luck again in Scottish Open qualifying, having come up two shots shy last year as four spots up for grabs went to Duncan Stewart, Conor O’Neil, Peter Whiteford and Jamie McLeary.

“A lot,” replied Hill, who is now to Gleneagles Hotel, in reply to being asked how much confidence he took from last year’s strong showing in the 36-hole shoot-out. “I think it’s always nice to go back to somewhere where you know you have played well. All I need is to make a few more putts this year.”

Referring to the fact he played in last year’s US Open at Shinnecock Hills, he added: “It would be the second biggest tournament I would have ever played in. A good week could change my plans very quickly, so it is important to do my best to get into the Scottish Open.

“The last 12 months have been fantastic. However, I’m always striving for more or better, so there are things I haven’t accomplished and, after being a little rusty in areas to start with, my game is now in a good place. I just need to start managing my game a little better to improve my overall scoring.”

Sam Locke, who came through Open qualifying for the second year running earlier in the week, is also in the Longniddry line up, but Connor Syme withdrew following his success in that shoot-out for Portrush places at Fairmont St Andrews on Tuesday.