Josh Hill, a 15-year-old teenager, has created golfing history after becoming the youngest ever male golfer to win an Official World Golf Ranking event.
The young Englishman was born and raised in Dubai and it was in the United Arab Emirates where he set the new record as the youngest ever winner of an OWGR tournament when triumphing in the Al Ain Open.
At 15 years, six months and 27 days old, Hill takes over the record from Japanese star Ryo Ishikawa, who was 15 years and eight months when he won his first major tournament—the Munsingwear Open KSB Cup—back in May 2007.
Josh Hill became the youngest male player to win an Official World Golf Ranking event – but could not claim his prize money.
— BBC Sport (@BBCSport) October 23, 2019
“I really don’t know what to say right now,” Josh Hill was quoted as saying after entering the record books. “I am shocked and stunned.
“If you had told me during the summer that I will be winning a Mena Tour title against professionals and become the youngest ever winner of an Official World Golf Ranking event, I would have laughed at the notion.
“I guess hard work pays. I am actually a little disappointed with my finish because I missed so many opportunities coming in. I honestly could have broken 60 today. I knew I needed a good start, and once I got it, I just kept hitting one good shot after the other.”
But the news wasn’t all positive for Josh Hill as he was unable to collect the winner’s cheque for his victory in the Al Ain Open, part of the Mena Tour which is played in the Middle East and North Africa, as he is not yet a professional.
Hill’s reference to 60 came after he had finished the final round in 62 (8-under par) for a tournament total of 17-under par. That was enough for a two-shot victory over Harry Ellis, who instead earned the £10,477 winner’s prize.
The victory propelled Hill up the Official World Golf Rankings, moving the youngster from 2,072 in the world to a predicted position around 1,200 when the rankings are next updated.
Ironically, that is just short of the 867th position Hill currently occupies in the World Amateur Golf Rankings. He has reached a high of 480, on the back of victory in the Faldo Series Middle East Championship last year, which is still a remarkable achievement for a player still in school and who won’t graduate until 2022.
Josh Hill may have lived in Dubai his entire life, but his talent has still been noticed by England Golf with the 15-year-old already part of the England Under-18 squad.
The praise for Al Ain Open victory came from fellow Englishmen with six-time major winner Sir Nick Faldo, Masters champion Danny Willett and former world number one Lee Westwood among those to post messages on Twitter to congratulate Josh Hill.
Willett labelled Hill’s feat as “seriously impressive”, while Westwood described it succinctly as “brilliant” in a post. Faldo, meanwhile, was left contemplating what lies in store in the future for the talented teenager. Faldo wrote: “Great playing Josh…what’s next for you?”