English prodigy Josh Hill, 15, is warming up for European Tour debut by beating World 1 Brooks Koepka
English golf wonder Josh Hill, 15, is warming up for European Tour debut by BEATING World No. 1 Brooks Koepka in nine-hole shootout in Abu Dhabi
- Hill became the youngest winner of an official world ranking event last October
- Teen warmed up for European Tour debut by competing with world 1 Koepka
- The opportunity to practice with Koepka came about through his coach Claude Harmon
What did you do when you were 15?
English prodigy Josh Hill, who took a break from his GCSE studies, warmed up for his European Tour debut in the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship on Thursday by beating World No. 1 Brooks Koepka in a nine-hole friendly – and him too defeat.
“I know it’s not a tournament, but it’s still nice to say you’ve defeated the best player in the world,” Hill said after his success with one hole. ‘I was a little scared at first, because when you see him, he is so big that you think he will take you out. But he was so nice and helpful. “
Josh Hill became the youngest winner of an official world ranking event last October
Koepka, who was preparing for his first tournament in three months after a knee operation, was just as exuberant. He said, “I don’t know what I was doing at 15, probably causing trouble, but I do know that my wave was not nearly as far as Josh’s.”
“I’m sure he enjoyed improving me the way he should. He is a good player, he hits well and puts very well and he asks good questions. In his shoes, I would have been scared to ask, but he wanted advice on how to handle the week, and it’s important to choose a good player. It is cool to see how he develops. “
Hill, currently an amateur with a disability of plus five, entered the record book last October when he made a final 62 round to win the Al Ain Open in the Middle East, becoming the youngest player ever to offer a professional event offering in the world won ranking points.
Already a 6ft 3in, he divides his time between Dubai, where his father Russell is an osteopath, and Woodbury Park in Devon, a course that was once owned by motorsport legend and enthusiastic golfer, Nigel Mansell.
The teenager warmed up for his debut in the European Tour by taking on world 1 Brooks Koepka
The opportunity to practice with Koepka came about through the American long-game coach Claude Harmon, who has an education school in Dubai where Hill has lessons.
“I’ve learned so much from Brooks,” the teenager said. “I found it fascinating when he said he usually attacked only four or five pins per round and played in the middle of the green for the rest of the time. That’s really interesting, coming from world no. 1. “
The pair played for 100 dirhams (£ 19), but Hill is still waiting for his win. “I didn’t take it,” he said with a boyish smile. Aside from slow payment, Hill could hardly have asked for a better role model.
The opportunity to practice with Koepka came about through the American coach Claude Harmon
Koepka was a hotshot recently graduated from the Challenge Tour – a sport under the European Tour – when he made his debut in this event in 2014. He was so overwhelmed that he immediately missed the cut by a mile.
Look at it now, so in demand this week he will receive an estimated £ 1 million appearance costs.
Koepka often gives the impression that he would rather lift weights than a golf club, but admitted that he had missed the game during his 14-week absence.
“I missed coming to an event and preparing for something because I had nothing to prepare for,” he said.
Koepka is ready to play in his first tournament in three months after a knee operation
In words that will surely cause a shiver over the backbone of his competitors, Koepka revealed that he suffered from his left knee last season when he happened to end up in the top four in all four majors.
“I’m excited about the fact that I can practice because there wasn’t much with my knee last year,” he said. “There were times when I couldn’t get to my left or squat in a bunker. I struggled to go down to read a putt. Fortunately that is now a thing of the past. “
What will he be now that he is completely fit?
In words that sounded like a letter of intent, he replied, “I think we all know that there are four tournaments that I look forward to the most.”