Garrick Higgo won the Palmetto Championship at Congaree in Ridgeland, S.C., for his first PGA Tour victory Sunday when leader Chesson Hadley blew a two-shot lead with bogeys on his final three holes.
The 22-year-old South African shot a 3-under-par 68 and finished at 11 under in his second career tour event. Get ready to see more of him. The victory, along with $1,314,000, gives him PGA Tour status through the 2023 season.
“It’s amazing,” Higgo said. “I just stayed patient all week.”
It was a heartbreaking finish for Hadley, seemingly in control at 13 under with three holes to play. But he drove into a waste area on the 16th and could not get up and down after missing the 17th and 18th greens to give away victory.
“I can only imagine what it looked like on TV because it looked freaking awful from my view,” Hadley said. “I mean, I could barely keep it on the planet.”
Hadley finished with a 75 after opening 65-66-68. He fell into a tie for second at 10 under with Hudson Swafford (66), Doc Redman (67), Jhonattan Vegas (67), Tyrrell Hatton (68) and Bo Van Pelt (68).
After an even par front-nine, Higgo had an eagle on the par-5 12th and birdie on the 14th to get to 11 under — two shots in back of Hadley.
Higgo also saved par from 10 feet away on the 71st hole after missing the fairway with his first two shots.
When Higgo tapped in for par on the 18th, he headed off to wait for a potential playoff. Turns out, he didn’t need the extra reps as Hadley missed a 10-footer for par to fall to give the rising young player his first signature win.
Higgo took off his sunglasses and grinned when told of his victory, then hugged his caddie to celebrate.
Top-ranked Dustin Johnson made a run at the top late in the round, coming within a shot Hadley after birdies on the 10th, 12th, and 13th holes. His chances ended with a triple bogey on the 16th hole and he finished with a 70 to tie for 10th.
Van Pelt made birdie on the 15th to get to 12 under, then gave it right back with a bogey on No. 16.
The tournament at Congaree filled in for the RBC Canadian Open, which was canceled for a second straight year due to COVID-19.
LPGA — Matilda Castren became the first Finnish winner in LPGA Tour history in the LPGA MEDIHEAL Championship in Daly City, Calif., pulling away on the front-nine at foggy Lake Merced and holding off Min Lee by two strokes.
Two strokes behind Lee entering the final day of the tour’s two-week run on the San Francisco Peninsula, Castren birdied the first three holes, eagled the par-5 fifth, and birdied the par-5 ninth for a front-nine 30.
Castern followed with eight straight pars and holed a 3-foot birdie putt on the par-5 18th for a 7-under 65. The 26-year-old former Florida State player finished at 14-under 274 after tying for 30th last week in the US Women’s Open at nearby Olympic Club.
Lee finished with a 69. She cut Castren’s lead to one with a birdie on the par-5 15th, but dropped a stroke with a two-putt bogey on the par-3 17th.
Lee missed a chance to became the first player to follow a Symetra Tour victory with an LPGA Tour win in her next start. The 26-year-old player from Taiwan won the Mission Inn Resort and Club Championship two weeks ago in Florida on the developmental tour.
Champions — Jerry Kelly successfully defended his title in his hometown American Insurance Championship, closing with a 6-under 66 for a one-stroke victory over Fred Couples and Miguel Angel Jimenez.
The 54-year-old Kelly finished at 14-under 202 at University Ridge for his eighth PGA Tour Champions victory.
Couples bogeyed the par-5 18th after a 68. The 61-year-old Couples won the 2017 tournament for the last of his 13 senior titles.
Jimenez, the leader after each of the first two rounds, shot a 69.
Jim Furyk (68) and Retief Goosen (68) tied for fourth at 12 under.
Tournament host Steve Stricker tied for seventh at 9 under after a 65. The US Ryder Cup captain, like Kelly, grew up and lives in Madison.
European — Two men and one woman finished in the top three of the inaugural Scandinavian Mixed golf tournament in Gothenburg, Sweden, with Jonathan Caldwell winning by one stroke for his first European Tour title.
“It’s been a dream of mine for an awful long time,” said Caldwell, who celebrated his 37th birthday on Thursday. “In 2009 I played my first year, lost my card, played mini tours and Challenge Tour over the years, worked as well in a local golf store. It’s been a long road but finally I’m here.”
The event was a first on the European Tour. It started with 78 men and 78 women competing on the same course for one trophy and one prize money pool. It was hosted by Annika Sorenstam and Henrik Stenson.
Caldwell shot a final-round 8-under 64, including eight birdies, two bogeys, and an eagle on the par-4 14th. The Northern Irishman finished 17 under overall, ahead of second-place Adrian Otaegui (67).
Otaegui had a putt to win on the 18th but the Spaniard charged his birdie attempt 4 feet past the hole and missed the return.
England’s Alice Hewson, who won the South African Women’s Open in 2020, was two shots behind Caldwell in third. Hewson needed to eagle the last to force a playoff but had to settle for a par and a closing 69.
Caroline Hedwall was one of two women and two men sharing a one-stroke overnight lead but the Swede dropped to a share of 18th after carding a 76.