SAN ANTONIO – The UIW golf program might have been cut short, but that didn’t mean that recent graduate, John Hill, didn’t shine. Hill was a Southland men’s golf All-Academic first team selection two years in a row as well as a first team All-Southland Conference selection last season. Most notably, he secured his pro card after suffering great personal loss: Hill’s grandfather, Frank Denton, and father, Bill Hill, passed away within ten days of each other just before the Mackenzie Tour Qualifying School in February.
“Through that time of loss, I continued to practice and stay on my path of preparation and my focus just came from me trusting my ability that I knew that I had kinda built up over the last several months before that, before Q school,” Hill said. “So, it was just kinda me believing in myself, believing that I had done the necessary stuff to be ready to play.”
Hill finished tied for 17th at the Q-school tournament, which took place at TPC San Antonio February 18th-21st. Hill’s head coach at UIW, Remy Huston, caddied for Hill during the back half of the tournament and said that Hill’s ability to stay focused on his competition demonstrated character and maturity that extends beyond the game of golf.
“Two of the most influential men he’s ever had wanted him to do that and have done everything for him to do that...it was bigger than just him getting his dream,” Huston said. “It was, you know, the meaning behind him achieving that was so – I mean, it’s hard to explain.”
Qualifying for the PGA Tour Canada was the culmination of a standout collegiate career. Hill won three tournaments outright his junior season – the most individual wins in a single semester for the Cardinals. Hill was also named the Southland Conference Men’s Golf Student Athlete of the Year for the 2019-20 season – also a program first.
“You have to have good grades, you have to have over a certain GPA – which I had – you had to have played well for two years,” Hill said. “They look at your history for the past couple of years. It was, to me, a really big honor because there were a lot of good players in the conference.”
With the remainder of scheduled collegiate competitions cancelled, Hill was disappointed he wouldn’t get a chance to compete in the conference championship his senior year. However, earning a spot on the Mackenzie Tour made the transition easier for him. Although the tour has been cancelled for 2020, Hill will retain his status for the following year and is looking forward to beginning his professional career.
“You just kinda have to learn to go out and shoot a low number each time and just kinda go fight against a lot of really good players so I’m excited to do that – I love playing against good players. I feel like it makes me better.”