Shubhankar Sharma secures top ten finish as Calum Hill wins Cazoo Classic

Calum Hill produced a forceful finish in the Cazoo Classic to secure a maiden European Tour victory. Shubhankar Sharma finished in T9

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Shubhankar Sharma - European Tour - Getty Images

15 August 2021: Calum Hill held his nerve on a dramatic afternoon at London Golf Club to win his first European Tour title at the 2021 Cazoo Classic. Shubhankar Sharma continues to achieve iterative progress on the European Tour. Since the Cazoo Open in July, where the Indian was T32 to this week’s T9, he has achieved a constantly higher finish each week.

Shubhankar got much of his work done at the front end of his final round. He made four birdies in the first seven holes to push up the order and brought it home from there to secure a tie in ninth with Ben Evans, Richie Ramsay and Jordan Smith. The four of them finished the week at 11-under 277.

Shubhankar was T30 in the World Invitational and T16 in the Hero Open after that.

The Scotsman went out in the final group on Sunday for the second week in a row but trailed by two at the turn as a host of European Tour winners battled it out to take the title in Kent.

There was a four way tie for the lead at one point on the back nine but Hill came home in 33 to sign for a 67 and finish at 16 under, a shot clear of Frenchman Alexander Levy, who stormed through the field with a stunning 64.

English duo Richard Bland and Callum Shinkwin, Welshman Jamie Donaldson and Dane Rasmus Højgaard finished at 14 under, a shot ahead of Dutchman Lars van Meijel.

Hill lost out to countryman Grant Forrest at last week’s Hero Open but got over the line in Ash to make it back to back Scottish winners on the European Tour for the first time since August 2012.

He has long been tipped for a European Tour win after making the cut on his U.S. Open Championship debut in 2018 and winning a maiden European Challenge Tour title in the same season.

A brace of Challenge Tour wins followed in 2019 as he finished second on the Road to Mallorca and after claiming seven top tens in his first 42 European Tour events, he now has a victory.

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

“I managed to manage my emotions pretty well and stay in each shot and not get ahead of myself. I definitely felt the pressure but managed to keep control of it.

“I wasn’t really chasing a number, it felt like I was doing everything well today but at the start of the day my putts just weren’t dropping and then that changed on the back nine.

“This is the start and hopefully I can keep pushing on from here and see where I can take it.”

Højgaard started the day with a three shot lead but he failed to get up and down from the sand on the first and there was soon a three way tie.

He opened up a two shot advantage by the turn as smart chips on the par five fifth and eighth allowed him to get up and down but he could not save par after finding sand off the tee at the par three 11th and was passed by the charging Levy.

The 31-year-old was still a long way back when he turned in 33 with birdies on the third, fourth and eighth but he holed from ten feet at the 11th to start a sensational run.

He made the most of the par five 12th, holed a 35 footer from the fringe at the next, made a 25 foot left to right effort on the 14th and two putted the par five 15th to set the target at 15 under.

Hill three putted the fourth but got up and down from the sand on the fifth before hitting the green in two at the eighth and putting an approach to five feet at the next.

He made a it a hat-trick from similar distance at the tenth and after laying up at the driveable par four 13th, holed a ten footer to share the lead.

The 26-year-old came up just short of the green at the 15th but played a smart chip to get up and down and hit the front on his own, holding his nerve on the way home to take victory.

Højgaard had followed his bogey on the 11th with another on the 12th but birdies on the 13th and 15th got him back in the mix before he bogeyed the last in a 72.

Bland and Donaldson had both shared the lead at points during the day as they carded rounds of 68 and 67 respectively, while Shinkwin birdied three of his last four holes in a 66.

Van Meijel recorded a closing 68 to finish a shot ahead of Finn Kalle Samooja and two ahead of English pair Ben Evans and Jordan Smith, Scot Richie Ramsay and India’s Shubhankar Sharma.