In the hype of the emerging young South African players towards the end of the year, Garrick Higgo’s name went relatively unnoticed. But the 21-year-old left-hander finished the year inside the world’s top 100 after his share of 14th in the DP World Tour Championship on the European Tour.
The year-end Official World Golf Ranking puts him in 90th spot, one of six South Africans inside the top 100 players. The others are Louis Oosthuizen (22nd), Christiaan Bezuidenhout (34th), Erik van Rooyen (51st), Dylan Frittelli (68th) and George Coetzee (92nd).
For Higgo, it was a fitting cap on a year which saw him start out at 464th on the list. He had victories on the Sunshine Tour in the Tour Championship in February and his maiden triumph on the European Tour in the Open de Portugal at Royal Obidos in September, and those lifted him into the upper reaches of the rankings, setting him up for a strong 2021 campaign.
He also managed second in the RAM Cape Town Open, a share of sixth in the Euram Bank Open, tied seventh in the Northern Ireland Open supported by the R&A, and a share of third in the Aphropdite Hills Cyprus Open.
He rounded out his European year with a share of 14th in the season-ending DP World Tour Championship, rebounding from a horrible second-round five-over-par 77 to close out the tournament with a six-under 66 and a three-under 69. He was the joint second-best South African player out of 10 in the field, together with Dean Burmester, Bezuidenhout and Van Rooyen.
For a man who turned professional just a year ago, he has an impressive collection of results: On the Sunshine Tour, he has played just 20 tournaments, and has two wins and two more top-10s in those appearances. On the European Tour, he has played 16, and has two top-10s to go with his win.
Four of those tournaments (the two editions of the South African Open Championship this year, the Alfred Dunhill Championship and the Joburg Open this year) appear on both Sunshine Tour and European Tour lists. So, he has played just 32 tournaments on the two circuits, won three times, and has four other top-10s.
With his world ranking of 90 going into 2021, there will no doubt be many more playing opportunities opening up around the world as he also will, no doubt, start stepping into major championship fields.