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Heroic Higgo takes Northern Amateur

18 Mar 2016

Pro Shop Northern Amateur Championship winner Garrick Higgo (right) and ‘caddie’ Herman Loubser; credit CGGU.

Boland junior Garrick Higgo underlined his status as rising star when he defeated Angus Ellis-Cole 2 & 1 in the Pro Shop Northern Amateur Championship final to seal back-to-back victories on the South African amateur circuit.

Just a week after Higgo held off some of the world’s top juniors to win the Boys Division in the Curro SA Juniors International, the 16-year-old De Zalze golfer showed maturity beyond his years to triumph at Randpark Golf Club on Friday.

Higgo defeated fellow Boland junior Herman Loubser 1-up in round one at the challenging Firethorn Course.

The 2015 Nomads SA Boys U-17 champion immediately volunteered to take the bag for Higgo and Loubser knew was in for the long haul after Higgo dispatched reigning Harry Oppenheimer Trophy champion Philip Kruse 2 & 1 and downed former Olympian Kyle McClatchie from Ekurhuleni 5 & 4 in the weather-hit quarter-finals.

The young Turk handed Central Gauteng’s Tyrone Gibb a 5 & 4 drubbing to book his spot in the final opposite Cole-Ellis, who also claimed a couple of big scalps in his march to the final round.

Cole-Ellis beat Etienne J van Rensburg 2 & 1 in the first round and knocked out Pro Shop Northern Amateur Stroke Play champion Dylan Kok 1-up in round two.

The Glendower golfer downed 2015 Nomads SA Boys U-19 Boys Stroke Play champion Dylan Naidoo 2 & 1 to reach the semi-finals and came up trumps in a tightly-fought semi-final against SA number one Marco Steyn from Central Gauteng to take the match 1-up.

Higgo took the early lead with a birdie at the second, but Angus-Cole squared the match with a birdie at four. When Higgo notched more birdies at five and nine, Cole-Ellis responded with gains at seven and 11 and the pair were still all-square after sharing the 14th in birdies and 15th in pars.

“I knew I would have to tighten the screws to win, because Angus was playing really well and I decided to attack at the last three holes,” Higgo said.

The go-for-broke attitude forced Cole-Ellis to make some mistakes and Higgo took the title.

“I hit driver down the middle at 16 and Angus went with a three-wood, but he pulled it a little and finished in the rough,” said Higgo.

“He had to hit over the trees and his second finished in some bushes. After he took a penalty drop, he finished with a bogey and I up-and-downed for par to take the lead.

“I hit five-iron at the short hole and the ball finished pin-high right, about 20 feet from the hole. Angus flew the green and couldn’t up-and-down. That left me with two putts to win.”

Higgo took second in the Gauteng North Open in January, and believes this the catalyst for his breakthrough.

“That close call at Irene was a signal that I can compete against the top players,” he said.

“I fed off that feeling at the Curro SA Juniors International. It’s great to be testing myself against our players, who have a lot more experience than me. I’m learning and improving and now I play to win.”

CHAMPIONSHIP MATCH
Garrick Higgo (De Zalze GC) beat Angus Ellis-Cole (Glendower GC) 2 & 1

3rd & 4th Place Play-Off
Marco Steyn (Modderfontein GC) beat Tyrone Gibb (Royal JHB & Kensington GC) 6 & 4

Written and released by Lali Stander on behalf of the South African Golf Association.

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