Hill takes off skates, takes up links

Three years ago a string of concussions forced Logan Hill to quit hockey and find another sport. Today he’s glad he did. Although the 15-year-old has been involved in competitive golf for only three years he’s developed into one of the top young golfers in the country.

Three years ago a string of concussions forced Logan Hill to quit hockey and find another sport.

Today he’s glad he did.

Although the 15-year-old has been involved in competitive golf for only three years he’s developed into one of the top young golfers in the country.

His ability on the links earned him a berth on the Canadian Junior Golf Association team to compete in the 2012 Euro Junior Golf Cup last week in Fife, Scotland.

“It was a great experience and a lot of fun with the interaction with the other countries,” said Hill after returning home late Saturday.

“The Scots really liked us and we bonded with them.”

Hill qualified for the 14-member Canadian team at an early-season event at River Spirit in Calgary.

“It was supposed to be a two-day event, but it snowed the first day,” Hill explained. “They plowed the snow off the course and turned it into a one-day event. I shot a 74, which left me in a tie for first and then won in a playoff.”

The Calgary event was just one in a series of tournaments across Canada. Once all the scores were tabulated the top eight competitors in the 15-19 year-old division were named to the team for the three-day match play tournament against Scotland and the United States.

Hill never played match play before, but he took to it naturally, and won his first two matches.

He split the second day and halved his match against Scotland and lost to the USA the third day. Not bad considering Hill was one of the younger athletes on the Canadian team, just turning 15, and was up against competitors four years his elder.

“It was a great experience, something I’m glad I got a chance to do,” he said.

“My competition got stronger as the tournament went on, especially the Scots who were missing some of their better players early on because of a big tournament there.

“As they were eliminated they came back and played in the Euro Cup.”

But that didn’t stop Hill from turning in one of the most impressive come-backs in the tournament on the final day against Scotland.

“I was down by five then won seven of the last 10 holes and halved the match.”

The Canadian team arrived in Scotland the weekend before the competition began on Wednesday.

“We got together for a camp in Glen Abbey in Toronto and then once we arrived in Scotland we played a couple practice rounds.”

Their first round was on the Old Course, which was an experience in itself.

“That was great and my first time on a real links course,” said Hill, also got a first-hand taste of real British weather.

“It rained and was windy and cold one day and it was really windy the final day,” he said.

Hill also changed his style on the links courses.

“I really concentrated on driving the ball and leaving it on the fairway,” he said.

“You get into the fescue it meant trouble.”

Normally driving is one aspect of his game Hill needs to work on.

“I’ve changed clubs and shafts and do need to work on my play off the tee,” Hill said, adding his strengths are his putting and irons.

Hill, who never really took up the game until he was 12, plays out of the Red Deer Golf and Country Club and works with coach Scott Bergdahl of the Lakewood Golf Resort near Sylvan Lake.

It’s been a busy year for the youngster, who will go into Grade 10 at Hunting Hills in the fall and hopes to play for the golf team. He has played a number of junior events on the Maple Leaf and CJGA tours and competed in the provincial junior and Western Canadians.

He tied for ninth in the 15-and-under category at the provincials and was in the 30s at the Westerns.

He may also play a couple of McLennan Ross/Sun Junior Tour events before the end of the season and hopes to qualify for the Tour final, Aug. 27 at Wolf Creek.

“But mainly it’s winding down for me,” he said.

“I’ve been going full tilt for some time, so it’s good to get a rest.”

drode@bprda.wpengine.com