South African golfer Garrick Higgo (Getty Images)
Warren Little/Getty Images
- South African golfer Garrick Higgo secured his second European Tour title this past weekend at the Gran Canaria Lopesan Open.
- Higgo is hoping to make his Major debut this year as he climbs the World Golf Rankings.
- The 21-year-old spoke to legendary golfer Gary Player heading into the final round in Spain.
South African golfer Garrick Higgo was given some sound advice from legend Gary Player before winning the Gran Canaria Lopesan Open title in Las Palmas on Sunday.
Higgo carded the lowest round of his European Tour career in the third round (63) to put himself into a two-stroke lead heading into the final day.
On Sunday, Higgo closed with a stunning seven-under 63 to finish on 25-under par to secure his second European Tour title.
READ | SA rising star Higgo on second European Tour title: ‘It’s unreal, I can’t put it into words’
Higgo’s first win on the European Tour came last year in the Open de Portugal, which was co-sanctioned by the Challenge Tour.
He admitted to being under a lot more stress in claiming his second title, though, and a chat with Player helped him keep his composure to secure the three-shot win.
“All of us dream to do things amazing. I spoke to Gary last night, actually,” said Higgo on Sunday.
“He just said that there is no such thing as a lead and you should play like you are two behind, so that was nice from him and he has said it to me so many times, but I have never really had a lead, so I haven’t had to worry about that.”
Comparing this win to the one in Portugal last year, Higgo said the one in 2020 was more daunting because he was still trying to secure full-time European Tour status.
“They are two very different weeks. The one last year (Portugal), I knew I had to win to change my status because I only had Challenge Tour status and with it being a co-sanctioned event, the winner gets a category,” said Higgo in Las Palmas.
“This was the first week that I have ever had a lead going into the final round ever, even in my amateur career, so it was stressful in that sense because I have never done it before this way.
“I wasn’t nervous on the outside.
“I know what it is like to beat someone and I knew that it could change even on the 17th, so I was just trying to keep myself in the battle.”
Higgo also made history in Spain as he secured the 500th win on the European Tour by a former Challenge Tour player and he now has a two-year exemption on the European Tour.
That makes him the fastest South African to two wins in European Tour history (not including Majors) as he captured the title in only his 24th European Tour event.
Including Majors, the fastest South African to two wins is nine-time Major champion Player.
The victory saw Higgo also move him up 45 places to a career-best 65th on the Official World Golf Rankings and saw him earn €230 500 (R3.9 million) for his efforts.
His elevation to 65th sees him close to securing his first Major as the Top 70 at the deadline (9 May) automatically qualify for the PGA Championship. Those outside the Top 70 in order are also called to fill the field of 156 in the major.
Higgo is excited to potentially make his Major debut at next month’s PGA Championship at Kiawah Island Golf Resort’s Ocean Course.
“It was definitely the goal coming out over these next four weeks was to play well enough to make that. I haven’t been playing that well at the start of the year, so yeah, it is going to be amazing,” said Higgo, who also moved to 17th on the Race to Dubai rankings.
“I was going to play everything because hopefully, I was going to make it to the PGA and then play that as well. I can’t go back home, I will probably be here until October or November, so it doesn’t change so I will keep playing.”
The result also secures a South African double (and near triple) this past weekend, with Brandon Stone having won the Limpopo Championship, which is a co-sanctioned Challenge Tour event. On the PGA Tour, Charl Schwartzel and Louis Oosthuizen lost in a playoff at the Zurich Classic.
Higgo will remain in Spain and is expected to tee off in Thursday’s Tenerife Open at Golf Costa Adeje in Tenerife.
“There is always room for improvement. My game is trending the right way. I have been working hard and there are things I can get better at, so I will just take every week as it comes and see where my game goes,” he said.