Monday, June 14, 2021. 12:06 PM
Life sometimes holds pleasant surprises and this is the case for the South African Garrick Higgo who, at 22, just surprised the world of professional golf by winning the Palmetto Championship on Sunday, played on the superb Congaree course, located in South Carolina. He instantly becomes a full-time member of the PGA Tour and earns a 2-year exemption, not to mention an official invitation to the next edition of the Masters tournament.
Evolving for 2 years on the European circuit, Higgo has already proven its worth with 3 victories to its credit, including 2 titles in its last 3 starts. This meteoric progression allowed him to climb to the 54e echelon of the world ranking. Following his triumph at the Palmetto Championship, he is now 39e in the world, which gives him access to all the major events on the calendar, including the major ones. As a new member of the circuit, he will now be classified in the FedEx Cup and will participate in the end of season playoffs. Higgo admitted that his dearest dream was to join the American circuit while continuing to evolve in Europe; we can conclude that it will cross the Atlantic Ocean a little more often in the coming years.
Despite his young age, Garrick Higgo is already showing a lot of maturity and he is disarmingly calm on the course. He has a power far beyond the average and controls his emotions like a veteran. Unlike many young people his age, he is not afraid to win and the quality of his game allows him to display unwavering confidence in all circumstances. He admitted his tee shots weren’t on point in the final round but on the other hand he likes to challenge himself to perform saves. I have a lot of admiration for this player whom I have enjoyed following since last January and I believe that his exemplary attitude will allow him to reach the highest heights. I affirm that a new star has been born in the world of professional golf!
Chesson Hadley, the big loser
The American Chesson Hadley is having a very difficult season on the circuit and had a golden chance to end a shortage of more than 7 years without a win.
Leader by 4 strokes at the dawn of the final round, he could not do better than a 75 in the final round. Victim of costly bogueys on the last 2 holes, he let the victory slip away and had to settle for a tie in 2e place in the company of 5 other golfers. Still, he climbed 40 positions in the FedEx Cup standings and now sits at 111e echelon. Remember that he qualified only 7 times for the final rounds in 19 tournaments this year.
Veteran Bo Van Pelt is also having a difficult campaign and could have ended up in overtime had it not been for an unfortunate bug on the last hole. He is still not guaranteed a place in the playoffs despite a progression to 145e echelon of the general classification. Harris English also led the tournament in the final round before collapsing miserably with a 2e new from 40.
England’s Tyrell Hatton, American Doc Redman and Venezuelan Jhonatan Vegas also tied for 2e rank at one stroke of the winner.
As you can see, you always need a little luck to win on such a competitive circuit. We must believe that the stars were well aligned for Garrick Higgo because everything fell into place at the right time and he was able to take advantage of it thanks to his regularity, as evidenced by his 4 scorecards under 70. Higgo will of course be at San Diego this week when the United States Open is contested. We bet that many will keep an eye on him during this major championship as he is now the new darling of the PGA Tour circuit.
I will get back to you shortly for an in-depth analysis of the forces involved and the southern course of Torrey Pines on which the US Open will be contested.