Sarnia’s Matt Hill is hoping a little quiet time will take his golf game to the next level.
“I started meditating this year,” said the graduate of North Carolina State University, where he won the NCAA Division I men’s golf title in 2009.
“I feel like that’s really helped me a lot. It’s huge in pressure situations to be able to control your heart rate and your breathing and to be able to stay calm,” he added.
Hill believes the mental part of the sport, and the art of visualization in particular, is underrated.
The 27-year-old will use his newfound skills this month when he begins stage play at Qualifying School in an attempt to regain a playing card on the Web.Com Tour.
He last played full-time on the U.S. tour, which is one step below the PGA Tour, in 2013.
“A lot depends on just being hot at the right time,” said Hill, when asked about his chances of success.
A “fine line” separates all the top golfers in the world, he added.
“I’m just trying to get better.”
A strong finish at the season-ending event on the Mackenzie Golf Tour in Canada three weeks ago was a good next step.
Following rounds of 69, 67 and 66, he carded a final round six-under 64 and came within one shot of a playoff for the championship at the Freedom 55 Financial Championship at the Highland Country Club in London.
After three birdies and an eagle down the stretch, Hill needed a birdie on the 72nd hole to force a three-way playoff, but left his approach shot short and settled for third place.
“It was definitely a home game for me. It was a lot of fun,” he said of playing in a professional tournament so close to home.
“I had some home-cooked meals and had really good support from friends and family.”