Consistent Calum Hill has the Open and US Open in his sights
The 26-year-old missed out on a chance to join Bob MacIntyre and Martin Laird in flying the Saltire in this week’s US PGA Championship at Kiawah Island after being unable to break into the world’s top 100 ahead of the final cut-off last Monday.
But, fuelled by that disappointment, Hill is determined to tee up in a second US Open at Torrey Pines next month before then making his debut in The Open at Royal St George’s in July.
Ten spots are up for grabs in the US Open in California through a three-event mini-order of merit on the European Tour and Hill is on course to achieve that target after tying for eighth in the Betfred British Masters at The Belfry at the weekend.
That effort lifted him four spots to 23rd in this season’s Race to Dubai, with the top five not otherwise exempt in the top 20 after the BMW International Open at the end of June securing spots in the Claret Jug event in Kent.
“It’s the only goal at the moment,” said Hill of the US Open on it being first up, having come all the way through from sectional qualifying to play in the USGA event in 2018 at Shinnecock Hills, where he made the cut.
Referring to seeing his British Masters title challenge being extinguished by a double-bogey 6 at the 13th hole in Saturday’s closing circuit, he added: “Once the tournament is out of the window, you don’t give up for yourself and also for that reason.
“Two more events (the Made in HimmerLand in Denmark next week then the Porsche European Open in Germany the week after) and two better finishes than this one, then hopefully we will be fine.”
Hill, a three-time winner on the Challenge Tour, has now racked up five top-15 finishes in nine starts this season and, though disappointed along with Bob MacIntyre to come up just short at The Belfry, he came away from the Sutton Coldfield venue feeling confident about the rest of the season.
“It was a case of trying to stick in from there and not lose the head and try and finish off in a decent way and I feel I did that,” he said of bouncing back from that untimely setback with two birdies in the last four holes.
“A lot of this bodes well for me because, while the last two days I didn’t score the way I wanted to, I stuck in and didn’t fall away. It was another good learning experience and hopefully we can get it done the next time.
“The more I am there, the more likely I will get a couple in the end, so keep your eyes peeled.”
After a run of four straight events, Hill is looking forward to a few days off at home in Perthshire before getting back down to business.
“It feels as though it has been gradually improving the past six to eight months,” he said of his work with David Burns, who also coaches MacIntyre, paying off. “It has been steady progress and hopefully that can continue.”
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