Chips Shots with Garrick Higgo

GolfRSA National Squad member Garrick Higgo celebrated his debut in the prestigious Junior Invitational with a tie for 45th at Sage Valley Country Club in South Carolina. The De Zalze junior posted rounds of 79, 73 and 76 to finish on 12 over 228.

We chatted to the ambitious firecracker from Boland and found out more about what drives him, his likes and dislikes and what he still hopes to accomplish this year.

Birth place: Johannesburg, South Africa

Date of Birth: 12-05-1999

Residence: Stellenbosch, South Africa

Golf Club: De Zalze Golf Club

Favourite food – Steak and eggs
Favourite movies – Fury and Woodlawn
Favourite music / artists – Dance and House/ Timo Odv, Martin Garrix and Dimitri Vegas
Favourite actors / actresses – Matt LeBlanc and Brad Pitt/ Melissa Benoist and Jennifer Aniston
The Motto I live by is – All glory to the Lord
Favourite golf players to watch – Adam Scott and Tiger woods, because of their aggressive style and confidence.
Favourite tournaments to watch – Majors and WGC championships
Other sports you enjoy – Tennis and football
Major you would most like to win – Masters
I am actually right handed at most things but decided to play golf left handed

Q: Is there anything you can’t live without?
A: I can’t live without music. I even struggle to practise productively without music in my ears.

Q: As a youngster, what did you wish to become when you grew up?
A: I’ve always wanted to become a sport star but never knew which sport, so I played everything you could possibly play. Eventually in grade 8, I chose the hardest one of them all – GOLF!!

Q: In your opinion, what are the strengths and weaknesses of your game and what aspects still need attention?
A: My driver, putting and wedges are the strengths of my game. The only weakness sometimes is the long irons. I would to get to a point where I can say I don’t have a weakness.

Q: What lies in the future for Garrick Higgo?
A: I hope to make the International Team that will contest the first Junior Presidents Cup against America later this year. At this stage, it’s looking good and I qualify according to the World Amateur Golf Rankings, but I’m taking nothing for granted. I am working hard to ensure my spot on the team.
I have verbally committed to go to the University of Nevada in Las Vegas in August 2018.
UNLV is one of the best NCAA Division 1 Universities and they have produced many great players including Masters champion Adam Scott, Charley Hoffman, Ryan Moore, Chris Riley, Derek Ernst, Warren Schutte, Chad Campbell, Bill Lunde and Andres Gonzales. Their home courses are Southern Highlands Golf Club and Shadow Creek Golf Club.

Q: Tell us a little about the start of your golfing career.
A: My dad got me started at a very young age. I would just drive in the cart when they were playing and he would sometimes give me the chance to hit a few. After a while I was playing with them and doing golf on a regular basis. I only became very serious about the game when I was 14 and started practicing for four or more hours a day.

Q: What advice would you give youngsters just starting in the game?
A: Enjoy and take pride in every good shot you hit, because they don’t happed often.

Q: Biggest fear?
A: My biggest fear has to be spiders and ants!

Q: If a song was played at the first tee, what song would be played for you?
A: Born ready by Disco Fries

Q: If the made a movie about your life, which actress would you choose to play you?
A: Tough question. It would be between Brad Pitt and James Dean.

Q: If golf was no longer an option, what other professional would you choose?
A: I wouldn’t mind being a professional Basketball player.

Q: Tell us something you hate doing.
A: I hate watching romance movies. I would rather drink Tabasco.

Q: What’s still on the bucket list for Garrick Higgo?
A: I would love to beat Tiger Woods in a playoff that would deny him an 18th Major win. I definitely want to shoot a 59 with only 7 clubs in the bag and I’d love to date a famous actress one day.

Q: What movie do you watch again and again and why?
A: Fury, I don’t know why but for some reason I have just watched it so many times.

Q: If you were stranded on an island and could have just three things with you?
A: I would have a boat, a map and someone to drive the boat. With these three things I won’t be stranded anymore and I can drive to a nice Island that has a nice golf course.

Q: Do you think the future of South African golf is in good hands?
A: Yes, everyone at GolfRSA and SAGA set up great championships and help us to develop the game that will one day bring majors back to South Africa.

Q: Tell us about career highlights that have become treasured memories.
A: One highlight has to be my last two holes in the Central Gauteng Amateur, where I made a clutch 10 foot birdie on the 17th hole to stay one behind the leader at 10 under. At the par five 18th I smashed a drive to 212 from the hole, then creamed a 4 iron to 25 foot short of the hole. The flag was middle left and I knew I had to make the putt to win. I read the putt two balls on the left and slightly up hill. As the putter face made contact with the ball I knew it was in and my heart stopped for a few seconds, then I just heard my mom and uncle screaming with joy!

Another highlight was when I made two eagles in one round at the 2016 U.S Amateur Qualifier to win by one shot and to become the only South African to play in both the U.S Amateur and U.S Junior Amateur in the same year.

The first eagle came at the par four 5th hole, where I had 157 meters to the hole for my second shot but I was lying right behind a big tree with some bushes around me. The only option I had was to play a high hook around the tree and try and get it into the bunker just short of the green that will leave me a nice chance for an up and down par. I hit it exactly as I wanted to, but it went 10 meters further and flew the bunker. I was so happy when it cleared the bunker in front and became happier by the second because it just kept on rolling to the flag at the back of the green. It was rolling so slow that I thought it would stop, but the crept over the edge of the hole and dropped into the cup.

The second eagle was at the last hole, a very long par five. I pulled my drive to the right into the trees, eventually found it and I sort of had a shot but it wasn’t easy. I had to hit another hook but this time with my three wood and I had to start it in the middle of the big lake on the left and hopefully draw it back to the fairway. I hit another perfect shot and when I got to the green my ball was lying a foot from the hole. Spectators told us that it was extremely very close to an albatross.

Finishing 11th in the 2016 South Beach International Amateur Championship at Miami Beach GC in Florida on a score of 7 under was awesome, too. The South Beach International Amateur is the second biggest international amateur event in the whole world after the British Amateur and the 8th biggest amateur event in the world.

I was also really proud to help South Africa keep their proud winning record going at the 2017 All-Africa Junior Golf Championship and to have reached the number one spot in the South African Golf Association Rankings earlier this year.

2016 & 2017 HIGHLIGHTS
2017 – Reached number 1 spot in South African Golf Association Open Amateur Rankings
1st – 2017 Cape Province Open at Kingswood Golf Estate
1st – 2017 Nomads Coastal National Order of Merit Coastal at Royal Durban GC
2nd – 2017 Curro SA Junior International at Durbanville GC (*play-off)
T3 – Free State Open at Maccauvlei GC
5th – 2017 Gauteng North Open at Wingate Park CC
7th – 2017 African Amateur Championship at Leopard Creek
Member of SA team that won 2017 All-Africa Junior Golf Championship at Royal Harare GC
Member of SA Junior team that finished 2nd in African Amateur Championship at Leopard Creek
1st – 2016 Curro SA Junior International at Durbanville GC
1st – 2016 Northern Amateur Match Play Championship at Randpark GC
1st – 2016 Central Gauteng Open Amateur at Royal Johannesburg and Kensington GC
1st – 2016 U.S Amateur Championship Qualifier at Marysville GC, California
2nd – 2016 Gauteng North Open Amateur on 12 under par.
2nd – 2016 Nomads SA Boys U19 Match Play Championship at Bloemfontein GC
2nd – 2016 Bobby Locke Invitational at Parkview GC
2nd – 2016 Harry Oppenheimer Trophy at Maccauvlei GC
2nd – 2016 Greg Norman Academy Final Championship at Barefoot Resort, South Carolina
11th – 2016 South Beach International Amateur Championship at Miami Beach GC, Florida
9th – 2016 Nomads Boys U19 Stroke Play Championship at Bloemfontein GC

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