Last updated Monday 2nd August 2021.
Daniel Hillier has come within a whisker of winning his maiden European Tour title and the most significant victory of his young career over the weekend.
Hillier has finished in a share of third place at the ISPS HANDA World Invitational presented by Modest! Golf Management in Northern Ireland. He fired rounds of 67, 62, 70, and 70 to finish 11-under, two shots back of Daniel Gavins.
The 23-year-old catapulted to the top of the leaderboard following an unofficial course record of eight-under at Galgorm Country Club in round two. The round isn’t counted as the course record as players played ‘preferred lies.’
Sleeping with the lead for the first time in a European Tour event, Hillier was slow out of the blocks on moving day, being three-over through five holes. He quickly gathered himself and went on to hit one of the shots of the tournament at 11, holing his second for eagle and get his round back on track.
He made a final birdie at the 16th to get back to even for the day and finish four shots back going into the final round.
Hillier got off to a far faster start on day four, making a birdie at the first after hitting a wedge in to kick-in range. The world number 678 made a bogey at four and another birdie at seven and made the turn at one-under par.
Hillier found himself at 13-under for the tournament after a birdie at the 10th to begin his back nine. With the overnight leaders struggling on the final day, Hillier was suddenly within a couple of shots of the lead and after a string of pars, he was tied for the lead standing on the 16th tee.
Daniel Gavins made par on 18 to post 13-under, meaning Hillier needed to play the last three in even-par or better to have a chance at winning his maiden European Tour title.
Hillier unfortunately bogeyed the 16th and 17th holes to fall back to even for the day and needing to make eagle on the par 5 18th to force a playoff.
Although he could only manage a par, the finish still secured his best-ever finish on the European Tour and sees him projected to climb to 432nd in the world rankings.
He says it’s a bitter-sweet way to finish off the golf tournament.
“Mixed emotions right now obviously. If you had told me I’d be in the top three or four at the start of the week, I definitely would have taken it.
“It’s great to be in contention which had the adrenaline going and I felt pretty good out there for the most part. It’s obviously a pretty poor end to the week but that’s the way things go sometimes and I’m sure I’ll be in contention more in the future, so I’m just going to learn from this,” he says.
Fellow Kiwi Josh Geary, unfortunately, missed the cut.
Meanwhile, both Wenyung Keh and Munchin Keh made the cut at Q-Prep @ Shadow Creek on the Cactus Tour.
Wenyung Keh finished at five-under-par to come tied 3rd, just two shots back of Elizabeth Wang.
Munchin Keh finished five shots further back in a share of 12th at even.
Michael Campbell teed it up on the Legends Tour in the PGA Senior Championship over the weekend, looking to add a first senior major championship to his US Open victory.
Campbell carded rounds of 73, 73, 73, and 74 to finish six-over-par, 13 shots back of Paul Broadhurst.
Michael Long missed the cut.
Finally, leading New Zealand amateur James Hydes has finished in a share of 32nd at the PDC Championship on the PGA Euro Pro Tour.
Hydes shot rounds of 73, 73, and 76 to finish at six-over, 14 shots back of Jack Hawksby.