Garrick Higgo claimed a come-from-behind one-stroke victory over Haydn Porteous in the season-ending Tour Championship which was held at Serengeti Golf and Lifestyle Estate to finish a successful rookie season on Tour.
Higgo started the round one shot off Ockie Strydom’s overnight lead, at 13-under-par, and had some work to do to earn his second title in his rookie season – having claimed the Sun City Challenge last June.
He went around the front nine of the Serengeti Signature golf course in 33 and bogey-free. But it was Thriston Lawrence who was leading at that time. Two birdies, an eagle and a bogey followed on the back nine – his favourite nine of the course, by his admission – to sign for a six-under 66 final round which took his tournament score to 19-under-par 269.
“I wasn’t really expecting to win this one,” admitted Higgo after his scintillating round. “I just came here to play my best golf and have some fun. And even today, it didn’t really feel like I was up there but things kind of changed on 16 when I made the eagle and I don’t know what Thriston did. I don’t really like the front nine here so I was happy to get out of there with w decent score.
“Thriston Lawrence was already 19-under through the first nine so I knew I had to go for it on the back nine and I did. But I missed a short putt on 13, 14 and then made bogey on 15 and I thought ‘whoa, now I’ve got to go eagle, birdie, birdie to have a chance. Then things changed on 16.”
To make it even a sweeter finish to the season for Higgo, he was also awarded the Bobby Locke Trophy for a superb rookie season in which he claimed two wins (Tour Championship title included), a runner-up finish in Cape Town and three top 10 finishes among other great results.
“I’m very proud to win the rookie of the year trophy,” said the 21-year old Garrick who plays out of De Zalze Golf Club. “It will look really good on my CV and I’m sure there have been big names that have won it before. That race was quite tight, you know, I think Wilco (Nienaber) snuck up on me there a little bit but now I’m very happy that I’ve got it done.”
Higgo already has his European Challenge Tour card secured for the current season on that circuit and will look forward to the new Sunshine Tour season with keenness thanks to a great first season as a professional.