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Last updated Thursday 23rd November 2023.

Daniel Hillier has been named Challenge Tour Graduate of the Year after finishing in 30th place on the Race to Dubai Rankings Presented by Rolex.


Hillier, who earned his full playing rights on the DP World Tour following his seventh place finish on the Road to Mallorca Rankings in 2022, earned the honours by finishing as the highest placed Challenge Tour Graduate on the Race to Duabi in 2023.

“Obviously a great privilege to be able to be named Graduate of the Year,” said Hillier, who is playing at the Fortinet Australian PGA Championship this week.

“A very mixed bag throughout the year. But I’m obviously really proud of my efforts, particularly in that second half of the season. So yeah, obviously really happy. Got a couple more weeks here to try and showcase that we’ve still got it and yeah, and then be nice to have a bit of a break and sort of re-evaluate things for next year.”

Less than a month later Hillier recorded a third place finish at the BMW International Open, before earning an impressive two-stroke maiden victory at the Betfred British Masters hosted by Sir Nick Faldo.

The New Zealander, who had begun the final round three shots adrift of a six-way tie for the lead and still appeared a long shot when he reached the turn in one under 35, finished his round with a flourish, going eagle-birdie-eagle from the 15th to open up a two-shot lead that would secure him the title.

“I mean it was amazing,” Hillier reflected on his win, which also earned him a second appearance in The Open.

“Obviously very uninspected the way it happened, but yeah, I’m pretty honoured that it happened to such an iconic venue on the DP World Tour. And yeah, hopefully come back next year and give it another good shot.”

The rest of Hillier’s season was highlighted by a tie for 12th at the Horizon Irish Open, a top ten at the Acciona Open de Espana, and top 20 place finishes at both Estrella Damm Andalucía Masters and the Commercial Bank Qatar Masters.

His success saw him make it all the way to the season-ending DP World Tour Championship.

Reflecting as a whole, Hillier said that his experience of playing the Challenge Tour helped him step up and perform on the DP World Tour.

“It was great,” he explained.

“I mean particularly that second year I was out there, they stepped up to the standard of golf courses and the way they were set up quite a bit. And yeah, I mean I think that’s what you really need when you’re sort of going through that transition trying to get onto the main Tour that you need the courses to be as tough just so that there’s no shock when you get onto the main Tour. And yeah, they did that really well.

“You had to be on all the time. There was no real golf courses I can remember them real snacks during the challenge tour. So yeah, what they’ve done over the last couple of years is really good for our transition.

“It is pretty amazing to think of all the years of hard work you’ve put in to get here is finally paying off. It’s been a special ride.”

Daniel Hillier, of New Zealand, is the latest Graduate of the Year