Cape Times

Higgo is already a force in the US


GARRICK Higgo pulled off his first PGA Tour win on Sunday in only his second start as he held his nerve to take the Palmetto Championsh­ip at Congaree Golf Club in Ridgeland, South Carolina, by one stroke.

The 22-year-old South African lefthander from De Zalze Golf Club in Stellenbos­ch, whose first PGA Tour appearance yielded a 64th-place finish in the PGA Championsh­ip, carded a final round of three-under 68 for a tournament total of 11-under-par. He stayed calm as world No 1 Dustin Johnson, long-time final round leader Chesson Hadley and the hard-charging Harris English were unable to hold it together, and, in the end, when Hadley bogeyed the final hole, Higgo allowed himself the luxury of celebratio­n.

“It’s amazing,” said Higgo, as he drank it all in. “I just stayed patient all week.

“I’ve worked so hard with my coach on my short game and my putting, and I guess all that has paid off.”

It’s his fourth title in under a year, after his breakthrou­gh win came in the Open de Portugal on the European Tour in September last year. Then, in the space of two weeks at the end of April and in early May, he took the Gran Canaria Lopesan Open and the Canary Islands Championsh­ip, also on the European Tour, which catapulted him into the top 100 of the Official World Golf Ranking and into his first major championsh­ip, the PGA Championsh­ip.

His victory now on the PGA Tour continues his dizzying rise to the very top of the pile in world golf, and he will head into next week’s US Open Championsh­ip as one of the form players, if not one of the favourites.

The win also opens an incredible number of doors for Higgo, as he becomes a full member of the PGA Tour with exemption until the end of the 2023 season. It will also get him inside the world’s top 50, taking him past Christiaan Bezuidenho­ut and making him likely one of South Africa’s two representa­tives in the Olympic Games together with Louis Oosthuizen.

In the end, Higgo was very aware of where he comes from: “Europe and South Africa have been vital in my game getting to where it is now,” he said.

 ??  ?? SA’s Garrick Higgo in action. | Sunshine Tour
SA’s Garrick Higgo in action. | Sunshine Tour

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