Thorbjorn Olesen Covid case opens door for Calum Hill in Abu Dhabi

The first Covid-19 case of the new European Tour season has opened the door for Calum Hill to secure a spot in this week’s Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship.

Calum Hill in action during the South African Open at Gary Player CC in December. Picture: Richard Heathcote/Getty Images.
Calum Hill in action during the South African Open at Gary Player CC in December. Picture: Richard Heathcote/Getty Images.

The 26-year-old Scot, who had travelled out to the UAE after climbing to first reserve for the $8m Rolex Series event, has replaced Thorbjorn Olesen in the field after the Dane contracted the virus.

A statement from the European Tour read: “Thorbjørn Olesen has been withdrawn from the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship after testing positive for Covid-19.

“The Dane tested positive prior to his scheduled travel and has therefore not entered the tournament bubble.

"He is currently completing the required period of self-isolation and has been supported throughout by European Tour medical staff.

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“He will be replaced in the field by Scotland’s Calum Hill.”

Hill, who made his debut in the event at Abu Dhabi Golf Club 12 months ago, joins eight of compatriots in the event, which starts tomorrow.

He will be alongside 2018 Ryder Cup-winning captain Thomas Bjorn and England’s Eddie Pepperell in the opening two rounds.

Hill’s opportunity in an event featuring Rory McIlroy and Justin Thomas comes less than a week after he was photographed hitting balls in the snow at Gleneagles.

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The three-time Challenge Tour winner will now be hoping to get his new campaign off to a flying start in the UAE sunshine.

Scottish No 1 Bob MacIntyre has been paired with current Ryder Cup captain Padraig Harrington for his first two rounds of the new season.

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