England’s Josh Hill has created a new world record as the youngest ever winner of an Official World Golf Ranking (OWGR) tournament.
Current boys’ squad player Hill – aged just 15 – claimed a remarkable two-shot victory at today’s Al Ain Open in the United Arab Emirates.
The MENA (Middle-East North Africa) Tour event was largely populated by professionals, but Hill carded an eight-under par final round 62 to put his name up in lights.
Hill replaces Japan’s Ryo Ishikawa as the youngest ever player to win an official OWGR event.
Ishikawa was aged 15 years and eight months when he won the Munsingwear Open KSB Cup in 2007.
Dubai-based Hill was only 15 years, six months and 27 days old when he completed his stunning feat having started the final round three shots adrift of another Englishman, Harry Ellis.
Understandably, Hill was shell-shocked at his victory. However, he also expressed a little regret at not marking the record-breaking occasion by posting a final round in the 50s.
“I am actually a little disappointed with my finish because I missed so many opportunities coming in. I honestly could have broken 60 today,” said Hill who will be a key member of the boys’ squad for Home Internationals and European Championships in 2020.
“I knew I needed a good start, and once I got it, I just kept hitting one good shot after the other.
“I really don’t know what to say right now. I am shocked. If you had told me during the summer that I will be winning a MENA Tour title against professionals and become the youngest ever winner of an OWGR event, I would have laughed at the notion.
“I guess hard work pays.”
Hill’s victory comes just a few weeks after an another graduate of the England Golf set-up – Robin Williams – won on the MENA Tour as a professional.
“I was struggling in the summer and then something changed in the last MENA Tour event at Yas Links,” added Hill who drained a birdie on the first hole of his round and never looked back.
“That top-10 finish gave me a lot of confidence and I knew it in my heart that I would do well here in Al Ain because I have such a good history here. I just love this track.
Ellis was magnanimous in defeat and praised his fellow Englishman for rewriting the record books.
“All credit to Josh. He played an unbelievable round today.”
Hill finished on 17-under par for his three rounds with a total of 193 at a course he clearly loves.
The rising star has won the Al Ain Men’s Open for the last two years and also claimed victory in a Faldo Series event at the Al Ain Golf, Equestrian and Shooting Club.
Photography credit: MENA Tour