Watching this second-string field, with the exception of local son Dustin Johnson, hack their way in on the final day of the Palmetto Championship at Congaree in South Carolina gave heart to all of us hackers. Garrick Higgo holds up to win at Congaree. Chesson Hadley squandered a 4-shot lead, Dustin Johnson made a triple, and Harris English likewise threw away a lead. What was going on in this lead up championship a week out from the 121st US Open? Bo Van Pelt played well to be right in contention but similarly could not hold up over the last few holes. Garrick Higgo the young South African showed the most composure and won at 22 years of age.
Golf Has Garrick Higo A New Wunderkind
This was one of those weeks when the golf course emerged the victor over the players at the pointy end of golf. Higgo was the exception and in only his second start on the PGA tour won the chocolates. Sir Nick Faldo commentating told viewers that Gary Player has been a major influence on the young Garrick Higgo’s golfing life. Golf may have a new wunderkind on the scene, with white belt and smooth left-handed swing. We also heard that the young Higgo had lost his father in a terrible car accident at the age of 9. Garrick Higgo holds up to win at Congaree.
Higo Holds Up Despite Dustin
Dustin Johnson was hoping to win this tournament in his home state of South Carolina and was right in this earlier in the championship. Many of the competing players were hoping to qualify for next week’s US Open at Torrey Pines in San Diego. This was a new course on the roster of PGA tournaments replacing the cancelled RBC event. The course appeared fairly tight with huge swathes of sandy waste areas and large bunkers that caught plenty of balls. We witnessed a lot of poorly executed shots attempting to extricate balls from sand and wispy rough. Garrick Higgo holds up to win at Congaree and it may just be the start of something special.
Weekend warriors everywhere would have empathised with players struggling in these conditions and making a mess of it. A tournament like this can work for the tour in this way I think, although we would not want to watch this kind of golf every week. Fans want to be inspired by great golf and aspire to the skills of the best players in the world. Seeing the golfers in the final groups on Sunday blow their chances via poor stroke play and wilting under the pressure is not the usual fare served up on the PGA tour. Garrick Higgo was the winning exception here and another great South African may have shimmied onto the world stage.