South African Higgo wins Palmetto Championship in Congaree

RIDGELAND, SC (AP) – Garrick Higgo won the Palmetto Championship in Congaree for his first PGA Tour victory on Sunday when…

RIDGELAND, SC (AP) – Garrick Higgo won the Palmetto Championship in Congaree for his first PGA Tour victory on Sunday when leader Chesson Hadley lost a two-stroke lead with bogeys on his last three holes.

The 22-year-old South African clocked a 68-under-3 and finished under-11 in his second career touring event. Prepare to see more of it. The victory, along with $ 1,314,000, grants him PGA Tour status until the 2023 season.

“It’s amazing,” Higgo said. “I just stayed patient all week.”

It was a heartbreaking end for Hadley, seemingly in control at 13 under with three holes to play. But he entered a deserted area on the 16th and was unable to move up and down after missing the 17th and 18th greens to give the victory.

“I can only imagine what it looked like on TV because it looked horrible from my perspective,” Hadley said. “I mean, I could barely keep him on the planet.”

Hadley finished with a 75 after opening 65-66-68. He was tied for second at 10 under with Hudson Swafford (66), Doc Redman (67), Jhonattan Vegas (67), Tyrrell Hatton (68) and Bo Van Pelt (68).

After an even nine front, Higgo had an eagle on the 12th par-5 and a birdie on the 14th to reach 11 under – two shots behind Hadley.

Higgo also saved the 10-foot par on the 71st hole after missing the fairway with his first two strokes.

When Higgo tapped for par on the 18th, he left to wait for a possible knockout. Turns out he didn’t need any extra reps as Hadley missed a 10-footer for the par to drop to give the young rider his first signing victory.

Higgo took off his sunglasses and smiled when he was announced his victory, then hugged his younger brother in his arms in celebration.

Table-seeded Dustin Johnson had a run in the lead at the end of the round, closing in on a Hadley shot after birdies at the 10th, 12th and 13th holes. His chances ended with a triple bogey on the 16th hole and he finished with a 70 to tie in the 10th.

Van Pelt birdied the 15th to go to 12 under, then returned it straight away with a bogey at No.16.

Swafford almost played next week at the US Open. A victory at the Congaree Golf Club would have meant a cross-country flight to Torrey Pines. He too came close and was two shots away from the lead before finishing tied for fourth.

The Congaree tournament replaced the RBC Canadian Open, which was canceled for a second consecutive year due to COVID-19.

The race capped an unprecedented stretch of golf in Palmetto State.

It started in April with Stewart Cink winning his third RBC Heritage title at Harbor Town Golf Links and continued last month with Phil Mickelson, 50, becoming the oldest major winner of the PGA Championship on Kiawah Island.

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