HILL CLAIMS DRAMATIC NI OPEN WIN AT GALGORM
Cormac Sharvin finishes tied ninth to be leading Irish player in Ballymena
FINAL REPORT: Galgorm Resort & Spa NI Open, presented by Modest! Golf
Sunday, August 19th, 2018
Courtesy of europeantour.com
Tournament: 2018 Galgorm Resort & Spa NI Open, presented by Modest! Golf
Venue: Galgorm Castle Golf Club, Ballymena
Twitter/Hashtag: @galgormcastle #NIOpen
Highlights: 2018 NI Open
Calum Hill soared up the leaderboard with a closing 64 to claim his maiden European Challenge Tour title in dramatic fashion at the Galgorm Resort & Spa NI Open, presented by Modest! Golf.
The Scot started the day four shots behind overnight co-leaders Scott Henry and Victor Perez and began to climb the leaderboard immediately by driving the green on the 336-yard par four second and holing the eagle putt.
After reaching the turn in 33 Hill made his move over the back nine, reeling off four birdies in eight holes before narrowly missing an eagle putt on the 18th.
The 23-year-old tapped in for birdie to reach 19 under par overall, and after Henry dropped four shots over his closing three holes it was Hill who was crowned champion.
Making just his fifth Challenge Tour start this week, Hill admitted he was lost for words following his one-shot triumph.
“I can’t believe it,” he said. “On the stretch I was hitting a few great shots and was holing a few great putts, but I thought it would be for second or third place – not for the victory.
“I really narrowly missed a putt on 18 for eagle which was just hanging over the edge – I thought that would make it interesting as Scott was 22 under when I was going down 17 and I made a birdie to get to 18 under. I didn’t even think it would be close.
“It didn’t even cross my mind as I was playing 18. I hit two nice shots and just tried to give the putter a run, and thought it was a nice finish to a great nine holes.
“With the par five 18th to play I honestly thought Scott had a chance of winning still, and I wasn’t thinking that I would be the champion.
“I came into the week trying to just rise up the Rankings as much as I could and at the end of the season keep my card as this is just my fifth start on the Challenge Tour and I’m playing on invites.
“So, to now have a category and have everything sorted is a bit of a joke – it’s absolutely brilliant isn’t it?
“My girlfriend has been trying to call me from America – so I can’t wait to call her back and tell her the good news.”
With victory Hill rises up 156 places on the Road to Ras Al Khaimah to 43rd position with 33,379 points. After sharing second place with Henry, Stuart Manley moves up to fourth place in the Rankings with 95,649 points.
Cormac Sharvin (67) ended the week as the leading Irishman in a tie for ninth on 14-under-par 270 to earn a cheque for €3,960. The Ardglass man also received the new Bridgestone trophy and a cheque for £250 by finishing as the best Irish player under-30.
Clandeboye’s Johnny Caldwell (67) was next of the Irish contingent, two shots back on 12-under tied 13th, while Ballymena’s Dermot McElroy (68) was tied 16th on 11-under.
KEY IRISH QUOTES
CORMAC SHARVIN T9 (-14) 67, 65, 71, 67 270
If I was being critical I probably didn’t hit it close enough, but I hit a lot of greens and didn’t put myself under much stress. That was a pretty stress-free four under.
The week is a great step forward for me. It shows me it was the right decision to take last week off. I’m a bit disappointed not to be further up the leaderboard but it’s definitely a step in the right direction.
The golf course is really good. It keeps getting better every year we come back with it maturing. For me it’s definitely one of the best parkland courses in the north.
JOHNNY CALDWELL T13 (-12) 68, 66, 71, 67 272
Nice to hole that putt at the last. Game was good all day, found the fairways, only missed one green, just didn’t make enough putts. I’m pleased with four under.
Great week. My game is certainly starting to come around. I’ll take a lot of confidence from the week.
Started working with Gareth (Maybin) about a month ago. Getting things ironed out and it’s starting to pay off.
DERMOT McELROY T16 (-11) 71, 67, 67, 68 273
Got off to a good start, started birdie-birdie, four-under after seven, cruising and playing well. After 12 it started going downhill. I was trying to press on.
Back nine was disappointing but I’ll look at the week and to finish in the top-20 after shooting level in the first round isn’t too bad.
I was probably playing better than this at the start of the year, but I wasn’t holing any putts, so it’s good to see results. I felt I drove the ball really well, my iron play was good in parts, but it wasn’t up to standard like it usually is. For how I played overall, it wasn’t a bad finish.
CAPTIONS FOR PICS
calum_hill_trophy.jpg Scotland Calum Hill after winning the 2018 Galgorm Resort & Spa NI Open, presented by Modest! Golf at Galgorm Castle Golf Club in Ballymena (Photo: Peter Morrison/Presseye)
cormac_sharvin_swing.jpg Cormac Sharvin finished as leading Irishman in a tie for ninth in 14-under and received the new Bridgestone Trophy and cheque for £250 for the best Irish player under-30. (Photo: Peter Morrison/Presseye)