Higgins going back on Tour
More than four years after he walked away from the Challenge Tour wondering what he was doing with his life, David Higgins is back in the big time with a bang after a nerveless final-round display earned him the 14th of 28 European Tour cards awarded at the dreaded final stage of the Qualifying School at PGA Catalunya Resort.
Forty next weekend, the Waterville man made the top 25 and ties with two strokes to spare when he closed with a steely, two under par 70 on the muscular Stadium Course to finish seven under par and secure a full tour card for the first time since 2006.
Brilliant sunshine and flat calm conditions masked a gut-wrenching experience for a wily band of young guns and grizzled veterans. But Higgins, who was just inside the top 25 on five under par with a round to go, dug deep to secure his card at the “School” for the first time since he made it through as a raw 22-year old in 1995.
Higgins beamed after making six birdies and four bogeys in what he described as the most important round of his career. “Words can’t describe how tight you feel coming down the last few holes there. It just twists you inside. You only get one go at it and if you mess it up, that’s it.”
Out in level par after mixing three birdies with three bogeys on his front nine, Higgins knew he needed a sub par back back nine. He birdied the par-five 12th with a wedge to nine feet, the water-protected 13th from 20 feet and the 15th from six feet after another lay-up but refused to drop his guard.
“My attitude has not been good playing for the last few years in the Irish Region,” Higgins explained. “I knew I was better than that. I’m not saying the Region is a disaster, but I always knew in my own mind that I wasn’t achieving what I was capable of achieving. I’m 40 next Saturday and I couldn’t see myself lasting another 10 years on the Irish Region. So it was a case of saying, ‘Are we doing this or not?’”
Higgins knows he must now take advantage of his second chance, which could give him 20 starts on tour next year – more if he wins next weekend’s PGA play-offs in Turkey.
The top card went to England’s John Parry, who closed with a 70 to win by four strokes from Swede Mikael Lundberg (69) on 19 under par while 20-year old German amateur Moritz Lampert took the sixth card on 11 under.