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Calum Hill Completes Scottish Double on European Tour

By: | Mon 16 Aug 2021 | Comments


CALUM HILL put the disappointment of failing to win on home soil behind him with a dramatic victory at the Cazoo Classic to become the second Scot in as many weeks to register his maiden European Tour title.

Hill failed to convert a share of the 54-hole lead at last week's Hero Open, won by Grant Forrest, but produced the perfect response at London Golf Club to finish top of a congested leaderboard.

The 26-year-old overturned a three-stroke deficit on the final day, with five birdies in an eight-hole stretch seeing him post a five-under 67 to finish on 16 under and one ahead of Alexander Levy.

Overnight leader Rasmus Hojgaard carded a final-round 72 to drop into tied-third with Callum Shinkwin, Jamie Donaldson and Richard Bland, with Dutchman Lars van Meijel three off the pace in seventh place after a closing 68.

Hojgaard will be bitterly disappointed to miss out on a victory that would have put him firmly in the equation for a Ryder Cup berth, but he will have many more chances to win.

Hill responded to missing a five-footer to save par at the fifth by picking up a shot at the next and then starting his charge up the leaderboard with a two-putt birdie at the par-five eighth.

The world No. 150 rolled in six-foot birdies at the ninth and 10th, before converting from 10 feet at the 13th and taking advantage of the par-five 15th to move one ahead with three holes to play.

Hill's birdie opportunity at the 16th lipped out and the three-time Challenge Tour winner holed a 10-footer to save par after a wayward tee shot at the par-three next, with a two-putt par from off the final green securing his breakthrough title.

"I am so happy with how I managed to play and I am and really proud of what I managed to do," Hill said. 

"I managed to manage my emotions pretty well and stay in each shot and not get ahead of myself. I definitely felt the pressure but managed to keep control of it.

"I wasn't really chasing a number, it felt like I was doing everything well today but at the start of the day my putts just weren't dropping and then that changed on the back nine.

"This is the start and hopefully I can keep pushing on from here and see where I can take it."

Levy set the initial target after firing five consecutive birdies on the back nine on his way to a round-of-the-day 63, while Hojgaard slipped off with top spot when he made back-to-back bogeys from the 10th.

PGA TOUR

KEVIN KISNER birdied the second extra hole to win a six-man playoff at the Wyndham Championship.

The American struck his approach to three feet on the 18th hole at Sedgefield and made the putt for his first PGA Tour win since 2019 and fourth of his career.

Kisner moved up 40 spots to No. 29 in the FedExCup standings as the FedExCup Playoffs are set to begin at The Northern Trust Open.

Not that it was easy for Kisner, who began four shots off the lead and shot 66, making birdies on the 16th and 17th holes to reach 15 under and the playoff. His birdie bested Adam Scott, Roger Sloan, Kevin Na, Si Woo Kim and Branden Grace after all had made pars on the first additional hole.

“My first playoff win,” said Kisner, who had been involved in five playoffs previously - and lost the lot. “To be standing here is pretty sweet.”

With Scott looking at a four-footer for birdie on the first extra hole, Kisner thought he would have to hole a pitch from short of the 18th green just to stay in the playoff, and he nearly did it. Kisner grimaced as his ball settled just right of the cup. But Scott's short putt missed badly and all six players went back to the 18th tee. This time, only Kisner stuffed his approach close on the 505-yard closing hole.

Kim shot 64 in the final round. Scott had a 65 while Grace, Na and Sloan each closed with 66.

It was only the third six-man playoff on the PGA Tour and the first since Robert Allenby won at Riviera 20 years ago. 

It didn't look like a playoff would be necessary after Russell Henley, who led after the first three rounds, recovered from a slow start to reach 17-under after a birdie on the 10th hole. But Henley bogeyed three of the next four and came to the 72nd hole needing par to stay at 15 under.

But Henley missed a six-footer. It means that, for the third time this season, he has let slip a 54-hole lead. He was in front after three rounds at Las Vegas last October and at the U.S. Open in June.

“I knew I had to shoot under par today, so just disappointed,” Henley after his 1-over 71. “It stings pretty bad.”

There was drama throughout the final round of the tour's last regular event as players outside the top 125 fought to get in.

It looked like former FedExCup champion Justin Rose, who started the week 138th, had done enough to make the field for The Northern Trust, but the Englishman missed a 5-footer for par on the final hole that dropped him to 126th.

“Obviously it was in my hands up 18,” Rose said. “I didn’t do a very good job of that.”

Rose's loss was Chesson Hadley's gain. Hadley, who finished second at the Palmetto Championship at Congaree in June made a hole-in-one on the par-3 16th and shot 62.

That was enough to sneak him into next week's field at No. 125. And unlike Rose, Hadley needed to make the Playoffs to secure full playing privileges for next season.

Sloan and Scott Piercy were two others who played their way into the playoffs. Canada's Sloan moved from 131st to 92nd while Piercy came in at No. 126 and improved 10 spots.

Three players who missed the cut this week fell from the top 125 after starting the week Playoffs-bound. Ryan Armour went from 122nd to 127th, Bo Hoag from 125th to 129th and Patrick Rodgers from 123rd to 128th.

LPGA TOUR

WITH the Women's Open getting under way later this week, Ryann O'Toole chose the perfect moment to win her first  LPGA Tour event in 228 starts, closing with a bogey-free 8-under 64 at Dumbarnie Links for a three-shot victory in the Scottish Open.

After tapping in for a closing par, the 34-year-old O'Toole was showered with champagne and greeted with a kiss by her fiancee, Gina Marra.

"I still feel like I'm in shock and the tears are going to come later when things die down," O'Toole said. "I'm excited and happy. The hours and grind and heartache this sport brings, the constant travel, for this moment, I hope it only happens again and again."

O'Toole finished at 17-under 271. In perfect scoring conditions, Lydia Ko closed with a course-record 63 to post 14 under, tying for second with Atthaya Thitikul (66).

"I putted pretty well today and hit a pretty solid round today but it's not enough for the win," Thitikul said. "I just know that I tried my best and I'm proud of myself already."

O'Toole began the day tied for the lead at nine under with Ariya Jutanugarn and England's Charley Hull, and the American took the lead with birdies on three of her first four holes.

Thitikul drew even with O'Toole with a birdie on the par-3 sixth, but O'Toole got back in front with a birdie on the par-4 ninth to turn in 31. She maintained her advantage throughout the back nine and finished with eight birdies, including all four par-5s.

"I tried not to look at the leaderboard," O'Toole said. "I tried to just trust in my caddie to guide me to whether we needed to lay or get aggressive, stay patient or whatnot. It wasn't until 18 that I saw that Lydia was not far off and I could tell when I made the birdie on 17 that there must have been some sort of gap because people were cheering, and I was like, OK, clearly I can't mess this up too badly now."

O'Toole was working with a new caddie, Michael Curry, after her previous looper retired following the Evian Championship. She said she had also been considering retirement.

"I'm getting married in December, and OK, my clock's ticking. I want to have kids. Like, how much longer am I going to be out here? I thought maybe this year would be my last year," O'Toole said. "I've never wanted to be a mom on tour as far as having a kid and doing all that. It doesn't sound fun to me. But at the same time, I don't know if I could stop playing golf now."

She became emotional as she celebrated the victory with Marra.

"It's so nice to be able to share that, and to be myself out there and to have her greet me on the green and just live in a world today that I'm not scared to hide that," O'Toole said.

Jutanugarn shot 68 and finished at 13 under, and Hull was another shot back after her fourth straight 69. Ally Ewing, who will represent the U.S. in the Solheim Cup for the second time this fall, matched Ko's 63 and finished at 11 under.

O'Toole made the Solheim Cup team as a rookie in 2011 and went 2-0-2 in her matches, but her best tournament finish in 11 LPGA Tour seasons was third, most recently in 2018.


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