Up-and-down round leaves Calum Hill with uphill task in Mallorca

Calum Hill during day 1 of the Challenge Tour Grand Final in Mallorca. Picture: Aitor Alcalde/Getty Images
Calum Hill during day 1 of the Challenge Tour Grand Final in Mallorca. Picture: Aitor Alcalde/Getty Images
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Calum Hill was leapfrogged in the projected end-of-season
Challenge Tour standings by Italian Francesco Laporta after the opening round of the Grand Final in Mallorca.

Hill, who had reclaimed the top spot by finishing third in the final regular event of the season in China, had an up-and-down day at Club de Golf Alcanada in Port d’Alcúdia.

The recently-turned 25-year-old, pictured, carded an eagle and two birdies but also had two double-bogeys and two bogeys as he had to settle for a two-over-par 73.

That left him sitting joint-15th alongside compatriot Connor Syme on a day when Ewen Ferguson fared best among the three Scots in the field with a 71 to sit in joint-eighth.

Syme, who won in Turkey at the start of the season, sits 12th in the battle for 15 European Tour cards, with Ferguson in 23rd in the standings and 
needing a big week.

Laporta, meanwhile, birdied three of the last four holes for a 68 to lead by a shot from Welshman Rhys Enoch and Spaniard Sebastian 
Garcia Rodriguez.

Elsewhere, Bradley Neil and Euan Walker
took pride of place among the Scottish contingent in the European Tour Qualifying School second-stage events in Spain.

Neil, who is bidding to climb back up the ladder after holding a European Tour card in 2018, shot a six-under-par 66 to share the lead at Alenda Golf, while rookie pro Walker opened with a six-under 65 at Las Colinas to sit one off the lead in joint-second.

Ryan Lumsden, another new recruit to the paid ranks, is handily-placed at Club de Bonmont, lying joint-fourth after a three-under 69, with Daniel Young lying in the top ten at Desert Springs, where he also played in last week’s PGA EuroPro Tour Championship and opened on this occasion with a five-under 67.

l International team captain
Ernie Els has named Jason Day, Adam Hadwin, Sungjae
Im and Joaquin Niemann as his four wild cards for next month’s Presidents Cup in 
Melbourne.

Former world No 1 Day joins fellow Australians Adam Scott, Marc Leishman and Cameron Smith in the youngest ever International team, with the average age of the 12 players just over 29.

Day, who partnered Scott to victory in the 2013 World Cup at Royal Melbourne, had narrowly missed out on qualifying automatically for the team to face the United States – captained by Tiger Woods – from 12-15 December.

Woods will name his four wild cards today and is widely
expected to pick himself following his recent victory in the Zozo Championship in Japan.