Dubai-born teenager Josh Hill creates golf history as youngest winner of an Official World Golf Ranking event
Hill, 15, shot a stunning final round eight-under-par 62 to finish on 17-under par 193 to win the Mena Tour's Al Ain Open
History was created on the Mena Tour as Dubai-born teenager Josh Hill became the youngest player ever to win an Official World Golf Ranking (OWGR) event with his two-stroke triumph at the Al Ain Open.
Hill, 15, shot a stunning final round eight-under-par 62 to finish on 17-under par 193 at the Al Ain Equestrian Shooting and Golf Club.
England’s Harry Ellis (67) had to be satisfied with the runner-up prize for the second tournament in a row after finishing tied second in the Abu Dhabi Open by Arena. He finished on 15-under par.
Another England amateur, Curtis Knipes (66) was tied third at 13-under par 197 alongside American Ben Schlottman (65). Knipes, who had qualified for The Open earlier this year at Royal Portrush, went on top of the Amateur Order of Merit following the finish with Hill moving to second place.
But the man of the moment was Hill. Aged 15 years, six months and 27 days old, Hill broke the record held by Ryo Ishikawa as the youngest winner of an official OWGR event by two months. Japan’s "Bashful Prince" was 15 years and eight months when he won the Munsingwear Open KSB Cup in May 2007.
Starting the day three shots behind overnight leader Ellis, a 12-foot putt on the first hole kick-started the day and Hill never looked back after that.
A lip-out on the par-3 third from five feet denied him a second birdie, but Hill went on a run after that, making four birdies in the next four holes. He then picked up further strokes on the ninth and 11th holes to be seven-under par at that stage and three ahead of Ellis, who had made the turn at one-under par.
The final birdie of the day came on the 14th, even though he had two more chances from close range after that.
Because of Hill's amateur status he was unable to receive the winner's cheque of $13,500 (Dh49,858) which instead went to Ellis.
But his new-found status in the record books should be consolation enough for Hill.
“I was struggling in the summer and then something changed in the last Mena Tour event at Yas Links. 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.
“I am actually a little disappointed with my finish because I missed so many opportunities coming in. I honestly could have broken 60 today. I knew I needed a good start, and once I got it, I just kept hitting one good shot after the other.”
Updated: October 23, 2019 08:58 PM