Dubai teen Josh Hill becomes youngest player to qualify for Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship
The 15-year-old had already booked his spot at Omega Dubai Desert Classic
Dubai teen Josh Hill says qualifying for next month’s Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship presented by EGA still hasn’t sunk in after he secured back-to-back appearances on the European Tour.
The Mena Tour star, 15, triumphed by a single stroke at the Abu Dhabi Amateur Championship on Wednesday to earn a spot in the January 16-19 event.
In competing alongside some of the game’s best – world No 1 Brooks Koepka headlines – Hill will become the youngest player to compete at the tournament.
It will begin a memorable couple of weeks for the English youngster, who in finishing top amateur on this year’s Mena Tour, had already booked a place at the Omega Dubai Desert Classic from January 23-26.
Asked on Thursday if qualifying for Abu Dhabi – the European Tour’s $7 million (Dh25.7m) Rolex Series event – had sunk in, Hill replied: “No, I don’t think it will. I’m just too excited for it. I’m really looking forward to it. I’ll just practice hard and see what happens."
Hill made headlines in October when he won the Al Ain Open on the Mena Tour to become the youngest winner of an Official World Golf Ranking event.
On Wednesday in Abu Dhabi, he birdied the final hole at Saadiyat Beach Golf Club to register his latest victory, edging out close friend Arjun Gupta by a shot.
Now, after enjoying what he concedes will be "a lot nicer” Christmas and New Year, Hill will focus on getting ready for rubbing shoulders with the game’s elite.
“It’s what every 15-year-old wants and it’s great to be the one that’s got that chance and I’m looking forward to it,” he said. “I’ve played both [the National Course and the Majlis] a couple of times and think they’re among the best courses in the UAE.
“I think I know the courses as well as the pros, so hopefully that will give me a little bit of an advantage.
“I’m most looking forward to seeing how the top players in the world get about their business, how they prepare and see what they do to play their best – and try to apply it to my game. I’ll be interested to watch Koepka since he’s so poker-faced and to see what he does."
On his goals for the two tournaments, Hill said: “I don’t want to put any expectations on it because that just adds a bit more pressure. I just need to go out, play golf and see what happens at the end of it.”
Updated: December 19, 2019 08:12 PM