Calum Hill excited to make PGA Tour debut in Mayakoba Classic in Mexico

New European Tour cardholder Calum Hill will get his 2020 campaign underway in the Alfred Dunhill Championship at Leopard Creek in South Africa in a fortnight’s time.

But, next up for the Gleneagles Hotel-attached player is an exciting PGA Tour debut in this week’s Mayakoba Golf Classic in Mexico, where the prize fund is $7.2 million.

Calum, who finished second behind Italian Francesco Laporta in the Challenge Tour Road to Mallorca Rankings after two wins this season, joins US-based duo Russell Knox and Martin Laird in flying the Saltire at El Camaleon Golf Club in Playa del Carmen.

It’s an opportunity that has arisen through Calum’s spell at Western New Mexico University, where he graduated with an accountancy degree before staying on to be the men’s assistant golf coach and, during that time, secured a Masters in Business Administration.

“When I was coaching and doing my Masters, one of the freshmen on the team was the son of the CEO of a section of OHL, a former title sponsor of what is now the Mayakoba Classic,” said Calum.

“Through that connection, I was able to go down to El Camaleon in Playa del Carmen a couple of times and also played in one of the Monday qualifiers, which I wasn’t successful in.

“I then got an invitation for the Mayakoba Classic last year but was unable to take it because of the final stage of the European Tour Qualifying School.

“I was fortunate to get it again this season and I have happily accepted it because I don’t need to go to the final stage this time. It’s brilliant and it will be a fun week. It’s good that I know the place, which is fantastic.”

Calum, who is in the same group as Argentina’s Nelson Ledesma and American Harry Higgs for the opening two rounds, is heading to Phoenix straight after the event to spend a few days with his girlfriend, Miranda, before turning his attention to the new European Tour season.“I’ve decided to start in the Alfred Dunhill Championship in South Africa rather than the Hong Kong Open as I think that will suit me better, then I’ll play Mauritius and Australia then go back to America for a couple of weeks before starting the Desert Swing,” he added.

The 25-year-old had already dipped his toe on the European Tour, playing in three events this season and making the cut on each occasion.

He finished joint-26th and shared the honour of top home player with Scott Jamieson in the Aberdeen Standard Investments Scottish Open at The Renaissance Club in July.

Also on Scottish soil, he then recorded a top-30 finish in the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship before claiming a share of 17th spot in the Mutuactivos Open de Espana.

“Stoddy [Iain Stoddart, his manager at Bounce Sport] was quite set on me having a go in a few of them so that I could see what they were like and, to be honest, I don’t find them any different apart from having more strength in depth,” said Calum.

“It seems as though I am able to compete in them. I played quite well in all of them and the results were good. It was good to dip my toe in the water, so to speak.

“I think my game is continually getting better. I have not hit a barrier yet and, hopefully, I don’t for some time.”

Born in Kirkcaldy, Calum now lives in Crook of Devon in Perthshire, making Gleneagles the perfect base when he’s not travelling around the world.

“For where I’m based, Gleneagles is by far the best facility in a wide area,” he said. It’s quite close to home and to be able to use the facilities is great.

“The greens are always in good shape so it doesn’t put you at a disadvantage when I then get out to events. I’m not in a position where I get to tournaments and don’t feel prepared, which is good.”

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