Harry Higgs was able to move a step closer to regaining his full PGA TOUR card on Friday at Sea Island. Higgs had lost his card during the end of the previous season.
Higgs shot a bogey-free round of 63 on the more challenging Seaside course to finish with a score of 7 under par. This gave him a share of the lead going into the weekend of The RSM Classic together with Cole Hammer, a recent graduate of the University of Texas, and Andrew Putnam.
The last official tournament of the PGA Tour before the tour takes a break for the final six weeks of the year has a lot riding on its outcome.
Hammer, who shot a 66 at Seaside, is playing on an exemption provided by a sponsor and does not possess full status on any circuit.
On the Plantation course, Putnam, whose only victory on the PGA TOUR came in 2018, shot a score of 65. He has played for the eighth time in the past 10 weeks, missing only the Butterfield Bermuda Championship in the fall due to the fact that he has made every cut (he was the runner-up in Japan) and that the weather isn’t that great at home near Seattle. He is currently playing for the eighth time in the past 10 weeks.
It must have been difficult for Higgs to complete the previous season in the manner in which he did because he is a typical person and is well liked by his contemporaries. After starting his professional career with a tie for 14th place at the Masters, Higgs went on to finish outside of the top 125 in the FedExCup after missing the cut in 10 of his last 14 events. He participated in the Korn Ferry Tour Finals and failed to make the cut in any of the three tournaments he played in.
Since then, he has been granted conditional status, which opens up a lot of doors for him. Being on the PGA TOUR may be worrisome when it comes to job security, especially when going into a season knowing that only 70 players would qualify for the lucrative postseason.
“You are probably thinking about it right now. It almost always is for the vast majority of people, with a few of the best players in the world being the exception, Higgs explained. “However, it has the potential to inspire you to work a little bit more and to make better judgments.” The plan is for there to be no actual need to be concerned about it come March or as early as feasible, right?”
The leaders had a score of 130 that was 12 under par.
Sahith Theegala, Joel Dahmen, and Beau Hossler, who tied Higgs with a 63 on Seaside, were one shot behind Higgs after shooting 64, 67, and 63 respectively on Plantation and Seaside, respectively.
Dahmen’s exemption will expire at the end of this season because he won in the Dominican Republic the previous year. Because he frequently shares a room with Higgs, he is able to understand what it’s like to be under the burden of attempting to maintain employment.
“Golf is incredibly difficult, and things may turn bad very quickly. Never before in my professional life have I had the opportunity to play without restrictions for nearly three years. When we arrived in Napa, we realized that we had to start over from the very beginning. The old adage goes, “If you can’t perform, you don’t have a job.” That was something I was keenly aware of.
“When I’m out there, I don’t necessarily think about it,” said the player, “but there have definitely been a couple additional days of practice.”
Even though it wasn’t as as chilly as it had been in the first round, the scoring was still pretty low. The players who had a score of 4 under or lower were eliminated.
After making bogeys from the fairway on the seventh and eighth holes at Seaside — two of the easier holes for the day — Hammer turned things around with an approach to 3 feet on No. 9 and then a birdie putt from 18 feet on the next hole. Hammer made his first PGA TOUR cut as a professional last week in Houston.
He finished the round without incurring any more bogeys and will compete in the last group on the weekend.
“After 7 and 8, I started to feel a little bit down in the dumps.” “I put myself in a terrific position to make birdies, and I walked out with two bogeys, which is almost inexcusable,” Hammer said. “I should have made the most of my opportunities.” “But coming back firing on 9 and then making a birdie on 10, erasing those bogeys on two of the tougher holes right away was enormous for momentum and for confidence,” said the player. “It was a huge boost.”
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