Calum Hill feels a win on the European Tour “is going to happen eventually” as he keeps putting himself into the mix, and again this week at the Betfred British Masters.
The 26-year-old from Crook of Devon shot a five-under 67 to lie just a shot off the lead after the first round on the Brabazon Course at the Belfry. It’s just the latest in a series of low scores that have marked him as “the increasingly impressive Scot Calum Hill” in multiple media segments being broadcast from here.
Hill contended in the outstanding international field at Saudi Arabia, finishing fifth, then could have won in Kenya in April. Just last week he was in the final group in Tenerife, but unable to hold runaway winner Garrick Higgo.
But on a vastly more challenging track than in the Canaries, playing longer than the card of 7300 yards due to a cool and wet spring, he was just as good.
Early leader @schwab_matth ✍️
— The European Tour (@EuropeanTour) May 12, 2021
‘I think everything is steadily improving’
Three times a winner in a year and a half on the Challenge Tour, he feels the next step on the main tour is not far away.
“As long as I keep putting myself in those positions, it is going to happen eventually,” he said. “I think everything is steadily improving.
“As long as it keeps going that way, then your odds are going to be pretty good when you get a chance.”
He wants to play well whatever the difficulty of the course, but feels something that puts a demand on his game is better for him.
“Hopefully there are not many courses that don’t suit my game and you can go out there and play well everywhere,” he said.
“I think the ones I played on the Challenge Tour and won in the past have been low-scoring events, but then also when it was a little tougher I did well in them as well.
“I do like this. It kind of suits plotting it about a bit more and, if your miss isn’t wild, then you are going to be able to put yourself in better spots.”
— The European Tour (@EuropeanTour) May 11, 2021
‘I kind of nabbed two shots’
When he got into less-than-good spots yesterday, his short game came to the rescue. After a two-under start, his tee shot at the short 14th (his fifth) looked dead, but he chipped from wettish rough and held on the green, holing from 12 feet for his par save.
At 18 he was in the rough off the tee and came up short and right to a pin on the middle of the three tiers of that enormous green. But played a brilliant flop shot from the rough to a foot.
“14 was ridiculous, 18 was a cracker and the last (the ninth for him) was really good as well,” he said. “On a regular day you get one those escapes. To get three was like I kind of nabbed two shots.
“My putting has gradually been improving and becoming more consistent. I’ve always felt I have been quite a nice putter, but sometimes it would be streaky and fall off for a few weeks.
“It is getting more solid. I’ve done a lot of work on it with (coach) Davy Burns and I have also seen Phil Kenyon a couple of times now. It seems we have a foundation of what to work through.”
‘It’s a different scene out here’
Hill had a couple of chances in his debut season last year but fell away. He feels more steeled to the challenge this time.
“It is getting used to this environment,” he said. “I did okay on Challenge Tour, but it’s a different scene out here.
“You are aware that the competition is much more consistent and has much more depth to it. I have to be more consistent as well.”
Employing veteran caddie Phil “Wobbly” Morbey, who looped for Ian Woosnam in his glory years and has been around more than a few blocks, also has helped.
“He’s been to quite a few Ryder Cups here, but I haven’t asked him much about that,” added Calum. “Then again, he’s been out here so long, the majority of the places you go to, he’s been to a few times.
“If not, after a couple of rounds, he has pretty much sussed it. He’s just good at his job and that helps.”
The lead is held by Austria’s Matthias Schwab with Hill alone in second. Robert MacIntyre shot 71 on his return to action. Three-time tour winner Richie Ramsay birdied both of the last two holes for a two-under 70, while David Law returned a par 72.