Golf Asia

Palmetto Championsh­ip

South Africa’s Higgo Earns First Win In Only Two Starts


South Africa’s Garrick Higgo earned his first victory on the PGA Tour in just his second start, edging late leader Chesson Hadley to capture the Palmetto Championsh­ip at Congaree. The tournament at Congaree filled in for the Canadian Open, cancelled for a second straight year because of the global pandemic.

Shooting a three-under 68 for the round to finish at 11-under overall, Higgo chased down Hadley on the back nine who blew a two-shot lead with bogeys on his final three holes, finishing with a 75 at the South Carolina golf course.

Higgo’s victory from six shots back entering the final round was the prolific 22-year-old’s fifth title in his last 27 starts worldwide, adding to three European Tour wins and one on his home Sunshine Tour.

From Johannesbu­rg, Higgo is the second South African after Pretoria’s Branden Grace to win this season. “I worked so hard with my coach on my short game and my putting and I guess all this has paid off,” Higgo said. “I am just happy I don’t have to play a playoff right now.”

Hadley appeared to be headed to victory by reaching 13 under on the tee box at 16. But his next shot landed in a waste area and could not get up and down. He also missed the greens at the 17th and 18th to hand the win to Higgo. “It looked freaking awful from my view,” Hadley said. “I mean, I could barely keep it on the planet.”

Hadley dropped into a tie for second at 10 under with Hudson Swafford (66), Doc Redman (67), Jhonattan Vegas (67), Tyrrell Hatton (68) and Bo Van Pelt (68).

Left-hander Garrick Higgo became the youngest South African to win on the PGA Tour since Gary Player in 1958 and he revealed after his win that he has the legend in his corner.

“He (Gary) phoned me this morning, actually, and he told me he’s done it before quite a few times, the way he’s won from six behind, seven behind,” said Higgo. “He just said don’t think too much about what the other guys are doing, just kind of do your thing and stay up there, and you never know what could happen.”

Higgo’s reward is elevation into the world’s top 50 for the first time and Player was quick to tweet his approval.

“Seeing @garrick_higgo win his first PGA Tour event in only his second start has been one of the most enjoyable things for me to witness in my career,” Player said

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