Hillier shows he’s a golfer to watch
Porirua can lay claim to some accomplished sportsmen, sportswomen and teams, but 2015 was about Daniel Hillier.
The 17-year-old golfer, who has just completed year 12 at Aotea College, has been talked about as a player to watch for some time, but this year his CV grew massively.
He said that winning the New Zealand amateur title in April kicked off his stellar season. Hillier, 16 at the time, bettered Danny Lee’s record by five days as the youngest winner in the 122-year-old event.
In the final he played another teen, 17-year-old Sam Vincent, and won convincingly, 6 and 5.
In September he won the New Zealand under-19 title at Shandon in a playoff, and the next month at harewood Golf Club in Christchurch he became the youngest winner of a professional Charles Tour event.
Charles was on the course to watch a dramatic final round and said he was impressed with Hillier’s calm play as he battled back from a double bogey on the 13th hole to card a brilliant 68.
Hillier also played for Wellington in this month’s interprovincial tournament, performing with distinction though his team missed out on a semi-final spot, and he won the senior men’s championship at his home course, Manor Park Golf Club.
To top off a year of honours and accolades, he took out the sportsperson of the year gong at the College Sport Wellington awards, and young sportsman of the year at the Porirua Sports Awards. His coach, Kevin Smith, was named coach of the year at the same event.
Next year could be another busy year for Hillier. He will compete at the New Zealand Open in March and get the chance to defend his New Zealand amateur title almost on home turf – Royal Wellington in Upper Hutt will host the tournament in October.
He has indicated that his first year out of school, 2017, will be spent playing internationally as an amateur, before making a decision about whether to turn professional.
Hillier has already been put forward as a school leader, and he exudes cool control on the course. His future is indeed bright.
Daniel Hillier, right, with the trophy for winning the Harewood Golf Open in October.