Josh Hill has admitted he can’t wait to tee it up with the game’s top stars at next month’s Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship after his latest amateur victory in the desert.
Earlier today at Saadiyat Beach Golf Club in the UAE, the England boys’ squad player claimed the Abu Dhabi Amateur Championship by a shot with a three-round total of nine-under par.
With this win, Hill earns an invitation to play in one of the DP World Tour’s flagship tournaments, an $8 million Rolex Series event to be played at Yas Links from January 20-23.
Hill, still just 17, led through all three rounds of play and edged out Denmark’s Fredrik Birkelund by a shot with England men’s squad player Zach Chegwidden in sixth place after carding three consecutive rounds under par.
For Hill, based most of the year in Dubai, victory on the shores of the Gulf was another significant moment in his career development.
Two years ago he became the youngest ever winner of a world ranking professional event aged just 15 and earned a spot in the 2020 Abu Dhabi Championship.
This time he goes into the 2022 event with two years more experience under his belt and rising levels of excitement as he prepares to peg it up alongside stars such as Open champion Collin Morikawa and current world number one Jon Rahm.
“It’s very exciting to be heading back to that event and I know the feeling of what to expect,” commented Josh after his win on the Gary Player-designed course in Abu Dhabi.
“There’s a lot of things I learned from playing that week and while I was disappointed to miss the cut, I guess you can look back over time and take the positives from playing on such a big stage at a young age.
“I feel my game has been back on track recently as I wasn’t quite where I wanted to be over the summer when back in England.
“This week it helped me knowing the course so well, but I also played some good golf.”
Even though he’s thousands of miles away and operating with a five-hour time difference, Hill still leans on the England Golf performance staff for support and advice over the winter months.
And Josh (pictured below, second from left, with his England colleagues) was quick to pay tribute to them for their help in recent times.
“I speak with Rob Watts (England boys’ squad coach) on a weekly basis,” confirmed Josh.
“I try to make the most of the access I have to Rob and others who help with psychology and various aspects of the game at England Golf.
“We are all used to working remotely now with coaches and I actually feel that I get a lot of benefits from our sessions.
“Since I came back to Dubai in the autumn I feel as if I’ve worked hard and got my game back on track.
“There were things I learned from playing for England at the Home Internationals for both the boys’ and the men’s squads that I’ve been able to apply to my game and have helped me play better resulting in the win this week.”
Hill racked up 12 birdies and an eagle and only made five bogeys in 54 holes at the Abu Dhabi Amateur Championship.
Now he’s eager for what lies in store in the new year.
He added: “It’s great to have earned the chance to play alongside some of the world’s best players again and I’m excited for the whole 2022 season.”