Higgo continues Canaries love affair to lead on Tenerife

May 8, 2021 | Featured, South Africans abroad

Garrick Higgo carded four closing birdies in a 64 to continue his remarkable run of form and take a two-shot lead into the final round of the 2021 Canary Islands Championship.

The South African arrived for the Canary Islands Swing off the back of a top five in Austria and won the opening event at the Gran Canaria Lopesan Open.

A top ten at the Tenerife Open followed and on day three of the second week at Golf Costa Adeje he moved to 20 under, taking his total score in 11 rounds on the Canaries to an incredible 61 under par.

England’s Richard Mansell was his closest challenger after a 64 of his own, one ahead of Scot Calum Hill who signed for a 66.

Finland’s Tapio Pulkkanen matched the course record with a 61 to sit alongside Australian Maverick Antcliff and England’s Andrew Johnston five shots off the lead.

Higgo’s second win 13 days ago at Meloneras Golf came in just his 24th event after his first had arrived in his seventh at the 2020 Open de Portugal at Royal Óbidos.

The 21-year-old only turned professional in 2019 but soon had two Sunshine Tour wins on his CV and could now pass that total on the European Tour as he continues his meteoric rise.

“I haven’t been playing well up until Austria, really,” he said. “But I’ve been working hard so when it’s going your way you just need to enjoy it.

“I was just trying to stay patient because I’m hitting good putts and I’m hitting the ball a lot better than I have the last couple of weeks. I’ve been giving myself a lot more chances so it’s hard to stay patient when you’ve got a lot of putts.”

Higgo had taken advantage of the first and while he gave the shot back on the second, a brilliant chip-in eagle on the third saw him replace overnight leader Adri Arnaus – who made a quadruple bogey at the third – at 15-under and lead by one.

He then parred his way to the turn and by the time he got there he had company at the top.

After birdieing the first, Mansell put irons inside six feet at the fourth and fifth and then holed from 11 feet to turn in 31 and share the lead.

But Higgo broke a run of seven pars as he got a fortunate bounce and saw his second finish within 12 feet at the 11th, holing for eagle to go two ahead.

Mansell would not be shaken off, however, and he made a two-putt birdie on the 13th before putting his tee shot to 11 feet on the next and making birdie to share the lead once more.

He had it alone when Higgo went over the back of the 12th to slip to 16 under and was two ahead with a 25-footer on the 17th.

Higgo left himself a tap-in on the 15th and put a tee shot to 10 feet on the 16th, as Mansell parred the last to set the target.

Another excellent approach left Higgo seven feet for birdie at the 17th as he retook the lead and a remarkable flop shot on the last set up a fourth gain in a row.

Hill, meanwhile, had been quietly going about his business on the par fives, taking advantage of the first, getting up and down from the sand on the third, making another up-and-down on the 11th and two-putting the 13th from the fringe.

A smart pitch to 12 feet was then finished with a left to righter to complete the set, with the 26-year-old parring his other 13 holes.

Pulkkanen had 10 birdies and no dropped shots as he matched Scott Jamieson’s record set last week, while Antcliff was also bogey free in a 64 and Johnston made six birdies and two bogeys in a 67.

Dane Nicolai Højgaard was then at 14-under alongside Frenchman Robin Sciot-Siegrist, a shot clear of a group of nine players including Spaniard Arnaus who posted a 72.

Dean Burmester, Louis de Jager and Zander Lombard were all on 13-under, while Justin Harding was on 11-under. Justin Walters was the last of the South Africans who made the cut, his 72 leaving him at five-under.

From The European Tour

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