Small climb for Kearney as Hill reaches Cazoo Classic summit

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Small climb for Kearney as Hill reaches Cazoo Classic summit

Calum Hill (Photo by Andrew Redington/Getty Images)

Niall Kearney moved up two places on the Race to Dubai rankings for his week’s work as Calum Hill claimed his maiden European Tour title at the Cazoo Classic.

Royal Dublin professional Kearney would’ve been eyeing more from a weekend where he followed a one-under 71 on Saturday with an even par finale – his seven-under par tally tying 35th place and banking him €8,667.

Still just outside the top-110 on the money-list as he chases his full playing rights for next year, Kearney rose two places to 119th after trading four birdies with four bogeys in another frustrating day for the 33-year old who goes again at Thursday’s starting Czech Masters.

Jonathan Caldwell was the only other Irishman in Sunday’s field and he bookended his tournament with two-under par 70’s; the Clandeboye pro finishing in a share of 55th at two-under.

It was Calum who proved king of the Hill, however, producing a nerveless performance down the stretch in a roller-coaster final day and carding a five-under final round 67 to make it back-to-back Scottish winners on the Race to Dubai.

The 26-year-old had missed out on an opportunity of a first victory at last week’s Hero Open, losing out to his compatriot Grant Forrest having shared the lead heading into the final day, but he made no mistake at London Golf Club.

Hill was one stroke off the pace entering round four and was two shots back as he reached the turn, but birdies at the tenth, 13th and 15th edged him clear of the pack on 16 under.

The three-time Challenge Tour winner holed a crucial par putt on the 17th as the contenders lined up behind him, including Alexander Levy who stormed through the pack with an eight under 64 to set a 15 under par clubhouse target.

Hill held his nerve and a par at the last earned him a 16 under finishing total and the title as the inaugural Cazoo Classic champion, Levy claiming outright second place for the Frenchman’s best finish since April 2018 when he won the Trophée Hassan II.

“It’s brilliant and I’m delighted,” he said. “I’m happy with how I managed to play my last 11 or 12 holes and I’m really proud of what I managed to do.

“I’m just happy I know I can get into Wentworth now! That was in doubt. This is the starting point and if I can take it on from here I’ll see how far I can go.

“I wasn’t feeling too bad, I managed my emotions pretty well and stayed in each shot, not getting ahead of myself. It wasn’t too bad – I definitely felt the pressure but I managed to keep control of it.

“I wasn’t really chasing a number but I felt like I was doing everything well today. At the start of the day my putts just weren’t dropping and then that changed on the back nine so I’ll happily play that side again. I was just trying to not drop any shots and keep pushing forward.”

Richard Bland continued his impressive summer as he shared third place with his English compatriot Callum Shinkwin, Welshman Jamie Donaldson, and third round leader Rasmus Højgaard of Denmark.

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