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Kansas City’s Harry Higgs wins in playoff at hometown AdventHealth Championship

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Daily Wrap Up


Moves to seventh on Korn Ferry Tour Points List with first win since 2019

    Written by Staff, PGATOUR.COM

    If it wasn’t "the shot heard round the world," it was at least "the shot heard round Kansas City."

    Perhaps it was the shot that got Harry Higgs’ career back on track, as well.

    Higgs holed out for eagle from 83 yards at the 72nd hole of the Korn Ferry Tour’s AdventHealth Championship, ultimately landing a spot in a playoff with Tanner Gore at 19 under at Blue Hills Country Club outside Kansas City. Higgs won with a 7-foot birdie on the first playoff hole, again the par-5 18th, an outcome that delighted the spirited observers in Higgs’ home region (he was born in Philadelphia but grew up in nearby Overland Park, Kansas).

    Higgs moves from No. 75 to No. 7 on the Korn Ferry Tour Points List, well positioned to earn full TOUR status via the top 30 on the season-long standings after the Korn Ferry Tour Championship presented by United Leasing & Finance in October. That would be a better spot than the TOUR conditional status on which he currently plays, after finishing 144th on last year’s FedExCup Fall standings.

    It has been a trying few years for Higgs, whose game hasn’t always matched his larger-than-life personality. With his hometown win, he makes a giant step in rectifying that gap.

    “All these folks here, they've watched me grow up,” Higgs said afterward. “It’s nice to give them a moment where somebody that they … definitely know and hopefully love, watch someone like that achieve one of their goals.

    “It's difficult for me … to be knocked down, but it's OK to be humbled. I was certainly humbled and I'm still going to need to do it. I have not dealt with success well in the past, gotten maybe complacent and just thought, well, I've been hitting good shots, I'm just going to keep doing that. I was hitting good shots for a reason. So I need to make sure that I focus on those things that I have focused on this week, and then also it's OK if it doesn't work out as I wish. Take a fricking deep breath and move on.”

    Higgs began Sunday’s final round at Blue Hills in third place at 13 under, three off Gore’s lead. Playing in the penultimate grouping, Higgs caught up quickly with four birdies in his first six holes. He played his next 11 holes in even-par, though, and he trailed Gore by three strokes as he played the par-5 18th hole. In a stunning turn of events, Higgs holed out for eagle on No. 18 just before Gore missed a 20-foot par putt at No. 17. Gore was in a greenside bunker in two at No. 18, with a chance to get up-and-down for the win, but he blasted to 20 feet and couldn’t convert.

    Higgs split the fairway on the first playoff hole, played his second shot into rough just short-right of the green, and got up-and-down from 37 yards for the win. Gore’s tee shot found a fairway bunker and he laid up into the right rough; his third shot from 143 yards settled on the front fringe, 84 feet away, and he chipped to 3 feet before Higgs delivered the winning moment.

    That was all made possible by one of professional golf’s rarest occurrences – a hole-out on the 72nd hole that altered the tournament’s final result.

    “I had a horrible lie and I was trying to land it … about 15 yards further onto the green than it actually did,” Higgs said of his final shot in regulation. “With it being a bad lie, obviously it was going to come out with quite a bit of topspin. I didn't think I hit it hard enough to land it on the green. I don't even know where it landed, but it came out with topspin and once it landed, it was rolling quick, so I figured it was going to be up there probably within 10, 12 feet of the hole.

    “Then the roars got louder and louder and louder. We were already walking ahead. I was thinking, why are they screaming? There's no way, there's no way. Then I guess it dropped and they freaked out and then I also freaked out … I've had some pretty unbelievable weird things happen to me, but in that moment for that to go in, I'd probably say it was the best of my career, for sure.”

    Higgs has a special history at this event. He made his Korn Ferry Tour debut here at a high schooler at age 17; he shot 69-84 and missed the cut, but the experience fueled a hunger to play professional golf (the event was then contested at the nearby Nicklaus Golf Club at LionsGate). As a Korn Ferry Tour rookie in 2019, he finished runner-up at Blue Hills by a stroke, falling to good friend Michael Gellerman.

    Higgs since proceeded to earn his TOUR card via the 2019 Korn Ferry Tour season-long standings, and he has become one of the TOUR’s more popular pros for his fun-loving nature and ability to not take himself too seriously. He takes his craft seriously though, which has led to a mental tug-of-war at times in recent years. After a successful 2021 season that included a tie for fourth at the PGA Championship at Kiawah Island – finishing 66th on the FedExCup – he placed 147th on the 2022 FedExCup and 144th on the 2023 FedExCup Fall. That meant conditional TOUR status in 2024 and a consequent nomadic itinerary, which has included four TOUR starts and six Korn Ferry Tour starts to this point.

    His season began with promise on the strength of back-to-back Korn Ferry Tour top-20s in the Bahamas, but since that, he hadn’t finished better than T43 (Corales Puntacana Championship) before this week.

    A return to his roots changed everything. After holing his third shot at the par-5 18th hole in regulation Sunday, Higgs approached the green to raucous applause. He felt the moment, and he appreciated it. He also knew that it was time to mentally prepare for a playoff with Gore, who began the season with conditional status and Monday qualified into the AdventHealth Championship.

    Higgs rose to the occasion, the knowledge of which will hearten him forever.

    “I am not usually one that would be at a loss for words or have a hard time describing how I feel or what goes on, but it is relatively difficult to describe how awesome this is to win here,” Higgs said. “I think as the night goes on, to see the excitement and the enjoyment on other's faces, that will get it to the point where I will have realized like this is really, really cool.

    “For me kind of right now it's I won a golf tournament, awesome. I checked a lot of boxes, I did a lot of things that I wanted to do this week. It was fortunate that I obviously got a great result, but as the celebrations go and I see the excitement on people's faces and the excitement I've already seen, that truly means the world to me. It's really cool.

    “These are people, I mean we've been here for 20-plus years. These are people who have seen me grow up, seen me make mistakes, me be an idiot, which I still probably am, but yeah, so to do this with all of them here is really, really cool.”


    • Tanner Gore (2nd/19 under), who earned the start this week as an open qualifier, recorded his first top-10 finish in a PGA TOUR-sanctioned event (15th total start; 12 on Korn Ferry Tour and three on PGA TOUR Americas).
      • Gore, who entered the final round as the outright 54-hole leader, set a career-low 72-hole total score of 269 following rounds of 68-65-67-69, and he earned a start in next week’s Visit Knoxville Open.
      • Gore earned conditional membership for 2024 Korn Ferry Tour season with T119 finish at Final Stage of 2023 PGA TOUR Q-School presented by Korn Ferry; also claimed medalist honors at First Stage.
    • Open qualifier Dalton Ward (3rd/18 under) and Matt McCarty (T4/17 under) tied for the low round of the day with matching 8-under 64s.
      • It marked the second top-five finish for Ward this season after placing T3 at the 117 Visa Argentina Open presented by Macro).
      • With the solo-third finish, Ward earned 190 points this week and is now eligible for Special Temporary Membership for the 2024 Korn Ferry Tour season after surpassing the threshold for Special Temporary Membership of 253.82 points (equivalent to the No. 100 finisher from the 2023 Korn Ferry Tour Points List).
    • Quade Cummins (T8/16 under) and Noah Goodwin (T8/16 under) each finished inside the top 10 for the fourth time this season, tied with Mason Andersen for the most on the Tour this year.
    • Kyle Westmoreland (T15/14 under) carded a final-round even-par 72 and logged his fifth top-25 finish of the year.
    • Open qualifier RJ Manke (T20/13 under) placed T20 in his first Korn Ferry Tour start of the season and earned a start in next week’s Visit Knoxville Open.
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