Kinross’ Calum Hill qualifies for the US Open

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Kinross’ Calum Hill will make his major championship debut in the 118th US Open next week after winning one of the sectional qualifying tournaments.

The 23-year-old birdied the last at Canoe Brook Country Club’s North Course in Summit, New Jersey, completing a four-under 68 for a two round, seven-under total 135 – good enough to share top spot and secure one of only five places on offer there between 81 starters for next week’s championship at historic Shinnecock Hills on Long Island.

Calum came through the toughest route possible to make his date in Long Island next week, having had to win through a regional qualifier in New Mexico last month to qualify for the “sectional”, the so-called “longest day in golf”.

He finished runner-up in the New Mexico State University qualifier before heading to New Jersey, and a solid three-under 67 on the South Course at Canoe Brook set him up to finish tied for the lead with American Cameron Wilson.

Hill was a former Perth and Kinross Under-14 champion and country player who attended Western New Mexico University in Silver City on a scholarship and has settled there.

During his four years on the golf team at WNMU he broke most of the college’s golf records while completing an MBA in accounting, but after graduating he opted to stay at the university and become an assistant coach to the golf teams while dipping his toe in professional waters on mini tours throughout the western USA.

He won three times in 2017, including the San Juan Open in New Mexico – an event previously won by fellow Scots Martin Laird and Jimmy Gunn – and the Arizona Open.

Just last week he warmed up for the sectional with a runner-up finish in the Scottsdale Open in Arizona.

Hill is one of four Scots who came through the sectional qualifying process earlier this week. Established tour players Russell Knox and Richie Ramsay – both of whom played in last year’s US Open at Erin Hills – came through.

Ramsay was tied behind Andrew “Beef” Johnson at the European Tour qualifier at Walton Heath in Surrey, the second year in succession the former US Amateur champion has come through this route.

Knox was tied for fifth at the sectional in Columbus, Ohio, where 14 places were available at Shinnecock while Lumsden, who plays out of Royal Wimbledon GC in London but plays amateur golf for Scotland, also came through the tough sectional including most of the unqualified top pros playing in the Memorial Tournament at the weekend.

Lumsden is fresh from playing last week at the NCAA Championships in Oklahoma for Northwestern University, Chicago, where he is currently in his third year of studies.