That rarest of birdies, on the Road Hole, the 17th on the Old Course at St Andrews, characterised Garrick Higgo’s final round of the 150th Open Championship as he raced to a six-under-par 66.
The 23-year-old made an eagle and five birdies after making an early bogey on the fourth, and he finished the championship on five-under-par for a share of 47th in his second appearance in the Open. Although he was 15 shots behind the eventual winner, he will feel that his closing round is an indicator of what he has in the tanks as the PGA Tour and DP World Tour seasons wind down in the latter half of the year.
His birdie on the tough Road Hole – it was one of only four in the final round amongst the 83 players who made the cut – came off the back of a huge 371-yard drive right over the hotel to the right side of the fairway. It left him a look at the usual Sunday pin placement on that hole, and he lobbed his 125-yard approach to inside 10 feet, between the infamous bunker and the flag. Making that putt rounded out his scoring in a great round of golf.
He two-putted from three feet on the final hole for par, but he will look back on the eagle-two he made on nine as a modicum of consolation for the 18th. He hit his tee shot to the drivable 352-metre hole to 65 feet from the pin, just short of the green – and then chipped in.
Climbing 27 places on the leaderboard in the final round of an Open Championship is some achievement, and, with luck, it will kickstart some decent results in a season which has been underwhelming by the standards he set in his standout opening year of international golf.