Lucas Higgins – photo PGA Australia
Northern NSW’s golfer Lucas Higgins has the lead at the halfway mark of the TPS Sydney at the Bonnie Doon Golf Club in Sydney’s Eastern Suburbs.
22 year old Higgins was required to finish off his opening round on Friday morning having played only 16 holes before darkness forced a closure of play on day one.
Higgins returned on Friday morning to birdie one of his last two holes and complete an opening round of 66. He then built on that impressive start to the event with a mid-round burst that included four birdies and a hole in one in a stretch of eight holes to finish with a round of 65 and at 11 under he leads by two over West Australian Jarryd Felton who was round in 64 on day two.
There is another shot back to 15-time Japan Tour event winner Brendan Jones who has reinvented himself after essentially two years away from tournament golf by adding a second round of 66 to his opening round of 68 top be just three from the lead.
Higgins, who plays out of the Murwillumbah Golf Club just south of the Queensland border and who was at one stage the Gold Coast Burleigh Golf Club Champion on the Gold Coast, is relatively new to professional golf, playing only half a dozen or so events on the PGA Tour of Australasia and has missed the cut in the last two he has played.
Higgins hometown of Murwillumbah has been devastated by the recent floods and he is grateful at the opportunity just to be playing the event.
“I’ve been working hard to try and get a start in these four-round events so to actually get a start and have the lead is great,” said Higgins.
“I’m just going to embrace it and try my best to do what I can.
“Seeing all the floods was pretty surreal to be honest. I’m very lucky to be down here and playing.
“My family is OK which is the main thing. Everyone is going to have to rebuild again. We only had a flood four years ago so it’s pretty hard to see.
“Hopefully I can do everyone proud back home and give them something to smile about.”
Felton is a former leading amateur who has won events such as the New Zealand, NSW and NT PGA Championships but until recently he had been struggling with his game. A 9th place at the QLD PGA and another solid week at Cobram Barooga and now this week’s effort suggests his game might well be on the improve.
Jones is one of the leading foreign golfers in the history of the Japan Golf Tour and has amassed earnings of over $A12 million there. Since Covid hit that tour in 2020 he has played very few competitive golf tournaments and has in fact been working for a friend in a landscaping business in his hometown of Canberra.
Locals Grace Kim and amateur Kelsey Bennett lead the women in the combined gender event at 5 under and are tied for 6th.