Higgs confident he can close out the field

  • Steady hand: Harry Higgs dropped his first stroke of the tournament after 50 holes, but finished strong to lead by two with one round to play

    Steady hand: Harry Higgs dropped his first stroke of the tournament after 50 holes, but finished strong to lead by two with one round to play

Harry Higgs will fall back on the knowledge of having been in just this position several times in the past year when he attempts to win on the PGA Tour for the first time today.

The New Jersey native holds a two-stroke lead over fellow American Brendon Todd at 17 under par going into the final 18 holes of the Bermuda Championship at Port Royal Golf Course after a second successive 65 yesterday, and believes his exploits on the Korn Ferry Tour will hold him in good stead.

“In the last 13 months I’ve won twice, I’ve had at least three other seconds, a few thirds, a few fourths,” Higgs, 27, said yesterday. “I’ve done this before. Now, granted, this is the highest level, sure, but when you’re out there walking and playing the golf course ... I just keep thinking I’ve won, I’ve won, I’ve won.

“I will certainly think about that tomorrow. I’ve won twice in the last 13 months and I’ve had countless other chances to win. I’ve played with the lead a lot for the last year, so in a way that makes you comfortable, but you’re still uncomfortable the whole time.”

Higgs has good reason to mindful of Todd, as well as Bo Hoag, who had the low round of 64 yesterday and is three off the lead at 14 under. They go off in the final grouping at 11.40am.

Also on 14 under, after a 65 yesterday, is Brian Gay, who is in the penultimate grouping at 11.29am with halfway leader Scottie Scheffler and Ryan Armour, who are on 13 under and 12 under respectively.

Higgs’s golf has been notable for keeping blemishes off his card. That streak ended on the 50th hole he played, the 393-yard 14th, when he took bogey five. But he responded admirably with birdies on the par-three 16th and the closing hole, a par four, to provide a cushion going into the final round tomorrow. Higgs had five other birdies on his card.

“I knew I needed to hit that putt [on 14] way harder,” he said. “I got a little irritated, but I just laughed.

“I figured I was going to make a bogey at some point. I didn’t want to, but I was probably going to do it at some point.”

Todd, one of those in a three-way tie for the lead to start the round, matched Higgs until the closing holes. He had five birdies and a solitary bogey, also on the 14th, which played the most difficult on the Southampton layout.

The 34-year-old Pittsburgh native, who has bounced back from injury and has not won on the tour since the AT&T Byron Nelson Classic in 2014, summed up his round — highlighted by a chip-in at the 12th.

“I’m pleased, I’m not thrilled,” he said. “I hit it pretty nice. I had 15 feet all day and didn’t make many of them. The chip-in on 12 was a bonus.

“This is a huge opportunity for me and hopefully one of many this year. I’ll just go out there tomorrow and make the best of it.”

Hoag, whose 64 was his second of the week, put himself into contention after a front nine that included five birdies on the first seven holes. But his putter cooled off on the back nine, where he had to content himself with only two more birdies.

He is hoping it blows a gale in Southampton today as he attempts to reel in a seemingly unflappable Higgs.

“I hope the wind blows,” he said. “I’ve always felt that’s an advantage for me, even though sometimes I might not be so comfortable on the shot.

“You kind of wish it was dead, but overall I know it’s an advantage for me. I’ve been playing solid golf and looking forward to it.”

Gay enjoyed a spell of four birdies in five holes going out, which led to him getting to six under for the day through 11 holes before flattening out coming in and settling for six-under 65.

Patience will be the key for the 47-year-old Texan today.

“Put the ball in play, you’re going to have some opportunities,” he said. “The wind doesn’t really bother me too much. It’s familiar to me with what I’ve played for a long time and what I grew up on, so just stay patient.”

Scheffler opened with a bogey at the 1st and had two more, to go with five birdies, which stunted his progress.

He and the quartet on 12 under — Ryan Armour (65), Russell Knox (68), Aaron Wise (69) and Wes Roach (69) — will feel they have a shot at the $540,000 winner’s cheque this afternoon if they can go low.

To view the scores and Sunday’s pairings, click on the PDF links under “Related Media”

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Published Nov 3, 2019 at 8:00 am (Updated Nov 3, 2019 at 5:56 pm)

Higgs confident he can close out the field

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