The South African clinched his first PGA Tour win in just his second start at the Palmetto Championship
Garrick Higgo Wins First PGA Tour Title At Palmetto Championship
Garrick Higgo took advantage of a late collapse from Chesson Hadley to clinch a one-shot victory at the Palmetto Championship and win for the first time on the PGA Tour in just his second start.
The South African mixed three birdies and an eagle with two bogies for a closing 68 to set a clubhouse target of 11-under that would ultimately prove good enough.
Amazingly, the 22 year-old has now won three times in his last five starts, having tasted success at the European Tour’s Gran Canaria Open and Canary Islands Championship.
That run of form also earned the left-hander a spot in his first major at last month’s PGA Championship where he made the cut and finished in a highly respectable tie for 64th.
And this latest achievement further highlights the superstar credentials of the man from Johannesburg who has made a meteoric rise through the ranks.
“It’s amazing,” an understandably delighted Higgo said in the immediate aftermath of his victory. “I just stayed patient all week.
“I’ve worked so hard with my coach Cliff on my short game and my putting and all the guys at Titleist, and I guess all that has paid off.”
Starting the day six back of Hadley, who himself held a four-shot lead, victory seemed unlikely for the lefty, but as the final group faltered, Higgo made his move with seven holes to go.
Sticking to the attacking style of play that has become a trademark of his game, a 364-yard drive and a pinpoint approach on the par-5 12th set up an eagle that vaulted him into contention.
Another birdie followed on the 14th before a clutch par save on the penultimate hole ensured the South African was in position to capitalise on any mistakes from those in the groups behind.
And mistakes there were.
Looking to win his second PGA Tour event and first in over seven years, overnight leader Hadley looked nervy from the outset. Two bogies in his opening three holes set the tone for what was to come as the 33-year-old struggled to find any rhythm on the demanding Congaree layout.
A number of up-and-downs in the middle of the round papered over the cracks before the pressure of closing out what would have been a momentous triumph proved too much for the Californian, who bogeyed each of his final three holes to finish in a six-way tie for second.
But Hadley’s loss was Higgo’s gain as the 22-year-old became the first player to win on his first regular PGA Tour outing since 1988. He even did it with his mum Susan in attendance.
And for all the perks that come with winning – a cheque for $1.314m and his PGA Tour status for the foreseeable future, among a great many other things – the extremely likeable young man, who tragically lost his father in a car accident aged nine, just couldn’t wait to share the moment with his family.
“Firstly, I’m happy I didn’t have to go to a play-off,” he added. “I’m going to take all the good things.
“I can’t wait to see all my family, I hope they can come over. I’m very lucky that my mum is here. I just love my family.”
Elsewhere, Hudson Swafford, Doc Redman, Jhonattan Vegas, Bo Van Pelt and Tyrrell Hatton also came up one shot shy, while World No. 1 Dustin Johnson turned in an improved showing to finish in a tie for 10th – his best result since February’s Genesis Invitational.
Next up for Higgo is a trip to San Diego for the US Open at Torrey Pines and after this latest performance, you’d be brave to write him off.