Second European Tour Win for Higgo & Leishman and Smith Win in PGA Tour Playoff
It was almost double success for the South African tour players on both major tour's this weekend. The European Tour saw a second tour win for Garrick Higgo and Louis Oosthuizen and Charl Schwartzel were pipped in the playoff by the Australian team of Leishman and Smith in the PGA Tour Zurich Classic.
Second Success on European Tour for South African Garrick Higgo
SOUTH AFRICA’S Garrick Higgo won the Gran Canaria Open by three shots to claim his second European Tour victory in only his 24th start.
Higgo shot a 7-under 63 for the second consecutive day to hold off Maximilian Kieffer, who finished second after an 8-under 62 that included seven birdies and an eagle. Kieffer was coming off a playoff defeat at the Austrian Open.
Higgo had five birdies and an eagle at the Meloneras Golf Course in the Canary Islands, ending the tournament at 25 under. His other European Tour win came last season at the Portugal Open.
“It’s unreal,” Higgo said. “I can’t put it into words, it feels amazing. It’s quite a relief finishing now. It wasn’t over until the last hole really, I knew anything could happen, especially with the wind coming up. It was a bit stressful.”
“I am just going to keep going forward,” he said. “I am playing next week, the week after and see where my game goes. It feels good, I have worked really hard with my coach and everyone back at home, so it feels amazing.”
Jeff Winther finished third, four shots back, with Sam Horsfield fourth.
The result also secured a South African double, with Brandon Stone having won the Limpopo Championship on the European Challenge Tour earlier in the day.
"It's unreal," Higgo added. "Jeez, I can't put it into words, it feels amazing. It's quite a relief finishing now. It wasn’t over until the last hole really, I knew anything could happen, especially with the wind coming up. It was a bit stressful. I am playing next week, the week after and see where my game goes.”
The 21-year-old started the day with a two shot lead and he maintained that with a ten foot birdie putt on the second and doubled it with a spectacular long range chip-in for eagle at the fourth.
Kieffer had birdied the first and eighth from around 12 feet as he also took advantage of the fourth but he gave a shot back on the ninth and was still five back as he turned in 32.
A tee shot to 20 feet on the driveable par four tenth brought an eagle and trimmed the lead but Higgo holed from 30 feet at the ninth to lead by four at the turn.
Another 20 footer from Kieffer at the 11th was followed by an up-and-down at the tenth from Higgo as the duo continued to go head to head.
Kieffer kept his foot down with a pitch to ten feet at the 13th and when he put a stunning approach to three feet at the next, he was as close to Higgo as anyone had been all afternoon.
The leader had a good look at eagle on the par five 13th but had to settle for a two putt birdie, although he could not shake off Kieffer, who chipped in for birdie at the 16th.
Higgo then made a birdie on the par five 18th.
Winther was two under for the day with four birdies and two bogeys after 15 holes but birdied the 16th and 17th before chipping in for an eagle on the last. Horsfield carded a 66 with five birdies and a bogey to sit a shot ahead of Dane Thorbjørn Olesen and Scot Connor Syme.
Leishman and Smith win in Playoff at Zurich Classic
IT WAS nearly a South African double, with Louis Oosthuizen and Charl Schwartzel being denied the title at the Zurich Classic of New Orleans by Australia’s Marc Leishman and Cameron Smith in a playoff.
The pairs event was decided by foursomes format in the final round. Oosthuizen had driven the ball magnificently all day but found the water at the 570-yard. It meant Schwatrzel had to reload and they would go on to make a double bogey. Smith and Leishman were able to make a par to claim the title.
Smith, who won this event in 2017 alongside Sweden’s Jonas Blixt, joined Leishman to shoot a closing 2-under 70 in Sunday foursomes, which was one shot better than the South Africans. The teams finished tied at 20-under 268 after two rounds of four-ball (Thursday/Saturday) and two rounds of foursomes (Friday/Sunday).
Oosthuizen, 38, and Schwartzel, 36, had entered the day with a one-shot lead over the Aussies, who started 18 under alongside Tony Finau and Cameron Champ, who would struggle on Sunday, shooting 76. Schwartzel holed a 15-footer for birdie at the par-four 15th as Leishman and Smith dropped a shot on the hole, and the lead belonged to the South Africans at 21 under.
Leishman then responded at the short 16th with the shot of the tournament. Smith’s three-wood off the tee at the 302-yard hole got an unlucky break, bounding hard left into water that guards the green. The hole was cut front left. Standing awkwardly on a hill just above the red line signifying the penalty area, Leishman placed his ball after two failed drops, hit a chip to allow for run out on the slick green, and watched his ball run into the hole and drop for an unlikely birdie.
“Yeah, I said to the boys, ‘Why don't we just chip this in?’” said Leishman. “It wasn't the hardest chip in the world, but under the conditions – well, I won't say it was a must make, but it was certainly very helpful that it went in. I actually forgot to get my ball out of the hole I was so excited. I went over and was high-fiving Cam, and Louis had to throw the ball to me. So yeah, it's just nice to be able to celebrate with friends. … The atmosphere was great.”
Image Credit: Twitter/@CompleatGolfer
Be part of the action with a selection of unique golf tournament experiences, from playing in a pro-am with the stars to watching the action at golf’s most illustrious events. Whether it’s the Masters or The Open, The Ryder Cup or WM Phoenix Open, build your own bespoke package with the experts at Golfbreaks.com.
What do you think? leave your comments below (Comments)