• Merchiston graduate is now at university in Louisiana
• Coach Alan Murdoch: "It was a great win for him"
CALUM HILL | MERCHISTON
Former Merchiston school pupil Calum Hill was celebrating last week after winning his first US collegiate title at the Wallace Jones Invitational.
The second year student at the University of Louisiana at Monroe (ULM) claimed the title following a career-low six-under par round of 66 to close out three-round tournament on 11-under par.
Hill, 19, saw off the challenge of Victor Lange, No.47 in the US college golf rankings, to take the victory, which also helped ULM become co-champions of the tournament with University of Arkansas at Little Rock.
The Lothians teenager was one of the first players to benefit from Merchiston’s golf academy, joining the school in 2011 upon the academy’s introduction, and coach Alan Murdoch was delighted to hear of his US success.
"He was the first real success story of the golf academy and it was a great win for him last week" - Coach Alan Murdoch
He said: “Calum was one of the first players who came into the academy and he graduated in 2013. He was the first boy from Merchiston to get a golf scholarship to America and he goes to the same university I went to, so it was through my contacts I managed to organise Calum going to ULM.
“Calum had a great final year in school. He won all four major ISGA events and the two-year process within the golf academy really helped him develop as an individual and a player. He was the first real success story of the golf academy and it was a great win for him last week.”
Despite leaving for ULM, Murdoch still coaches Hill and keeps in regular contact with the student while he’s in the USA. And when Hill returns, he heads to Kings Acre GC – where Murdoch is director of golf – for coaching.
Hill has followed the path of his coach to ULM to continue a combination of both education and golf, something Murdoch is very passionate about.
Murdoch, who recently took a four-man Merchiston team to their first ever ISGA Home Internationals, said: “The more we can get both education and sport and marry the two together, the more options we can give to kids out there.
“For me that’s the ultimate. If you can keep kids in education for as long as you can, and if that means having some sort of sport academy programme to help them stay in education, it can only benefit them in the long term.
“Quite a few kids, when they get the opportunity to leave, they leave quite early and I’m not saying that’s wrong but if you can have some sort of programme for a sporty kid in place, that can help keep them in school for an extra two years.”