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Harry Hillier overcomes 5-shot deficit to win High Plains Amateur
Harry Hillier (Kansas Athletics)
Harry Hillier (Kansas Athletics)

The Kiwi from Kansas comes through at the High Plains Amateur. Beginning the day five shots back of the round one leader, Sion Audrain, Hillier had a simple approach to the final round at Buffalo Dunes Golf Course.

“Just take it shot by shot,” Hillier told AmateurGolf.com. “I couldn’t really worry about what the guys behind me were doing.”

Shot by shot is exactly what Hillier did. Missing out on three straight birdie opportunities to begin the day, Hillier finally came through with a 15-foot eagle on the par-5 4th. Staying consistent through the remainder of the front side, Hillier was bogey-less as he made the turn at 2-under.

Trading a bogey on No. 11 with a bogey on No. 12, Hillier got his second-round score back to 3-under with a birdie on the par-5 14th, a hole he bogeyed the day prior.

Forgetting to scoreboard watch as he came to the final five holes, Hillier stood on the gas pedal as he came into the homestretch.

“I didn’t have many expectations,” Hillier said. “You just kind of have to focus and post a low number.”

With ignorance being bliss, Hillier allowed his game to free up as he played more and more aggressively. Ripping driver on the par-4 16th, he “manned up” and got it on the green to give himself an easy two-putt birdie.

“Thinking you’re two or three back with a couple to go, knowing you have to make a couple of birdies to even have a chance...to man up and be aggressive, that builds a lot of confidence going into other events when you’re under pressure,” said Hillier.

Not quite done with his final act, Hillier went on to birdie Nos. 17 and 18 to close out the day with a 6-under 66 and a tournament score of 7-under 137.

“I walked off the 18th hole and my playing partner goes ‘congratulations’,” recalled Hillier. “I go ‘what’s that?’ and he says ‘I think you won.’ and I said ‘uh I don’t know about that.”

Not knowing he was three clear of the final couple of groups, Hillier was simply playing almost like it was a casual Sunday afternoon round.

The win definitely boosts Hillier’s confidence as the Jayhawk heads into a hopeful senior fall season. The Big 12 has yet to organize a set of guidelines for golf as the SEC announced guidelines and schedules for their member schools last week.

As a native of New Zealand, Hillier went home following Kansas’ tournament at Bandon Dunes in March. Staying with his parents for 2-3 months, Hillier could no longer handle the ‘luxuries’ his mom and dad provided so he hopped back over to the U.S. where he bunked with his older brother, and former Jayhawk golfer himself, Charlie in Kansas City, Missouri.

Despite the uncertainty, Hillier and the Jayhawks are preparing for the fall just as if 2020 were a non-pandemic year.

View results for High Plains Amateur

ABOUT THE High Plains Amateur

Format: 36 Holes of stroke play with Open, Masters and Senior divisions.

Eligibility: Members of the Colorado, Kansas, Sun Country Golf Association who have an officially verified USGA handicap index.

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