After leading the way in the Order of Merit title battle since winning twice in quick succession in the summer, the 24-year-old had slipped to fourth with just two events remaining. But Hill is in pole position again following a splendid performance in the Foshan Open, the final regular event of the campaign on the second-tier circuit.
Signing off with five straight birdies for an 18-under-par total in China, he finished third behind home pair Zheng-kai Bai and Zecheng Dou in the last regular event of the campaign.
“At the beginning of the year, the biggest accomplishment you can achieve (minus winning three times and gaining an early promotion) is finishing first on the Order of Merit,” said Hill, who is attached to Gleneagles Hotel.
“It means you have bested, over the course of a year, all your peers/competitors. Being in that position, heading into the final event of the year is all I can ask for. ”
** After a four-under 67 in the fourth-round, Gemma Dryburgh sits joint-51st in the LPGA Q Series at Pinehurst.
The Scot, who is bidding to secure her card for the third season in a row, is the leading British player at the 72-hole stage, sitting three shots ahead of England’s Meghan MacLaren.
The eight-round event resumes on Wednesday, with the top 45 and ties securing Category 14 membership for the LPGA circuit in 2020.
Scott Henry opened with a bogey-free 65 to lie joint-second, one shot off the lead, in the MENA Tour’s Ras Al Khaimah Open.
The seven-under-par effort was matched by Swede Niclas Weiland in the same group before Swiss star Marco Iten grabbed the lead with a 64.
“It’s always easier when a guy in the group is making all the putts like Niclas did,” said Henry. “We both played well and I think we fed off each other quite nicely.”
Craig Ross sits in a share of 15th after carding a 69, one less than Daniel Hendry, Danny Kay and Simon Dunn.