The last time Garrick Higgo competed in a USGA championship, the left-hander from South Africa was making a run to the semifinals of the 2017 U.S. Junior Amateur at Flint Hills National Golf Club in Andover, Kan. His week in America’s Heartland was ended by future PGA Tour winner Matthew Wolff, in a match that included an unfortunate loss-of-hole penalty for Higgo when he mistakenly accepted a ride in a golf cart from a volunteer.
Visibly disappointed, Higgo handled the setback and the loss to Wolff with class and dignity. It was a bitter pill to swallow, but also a teaching moment for a 17-year-old player on the rise. His ascension continued in a two-year stint at the University of Nevada-Las Vegas, and having turned professional in 2019, Higgo is now one of the game’s brightest young stars.
He arrives at Torrey Pines for his first U.S. Open fresh off a come-from-behind, one-stroke victory in last week’s Palmetto Championship at Congaree in just his second start on the PGA Tour (his first was the PGA Championship at Kiawah Island). Earlier this spring, Higgo captured two European Tour wins during the circuit’s three-week visit to the Canary Islands, which earned him an exemption to Torrey for being in the top 60 of the Official World Golf Ranking. Since then, his ranking has soared to No. 39.
The 22-year-old from Johannesburg might be a darkhorse pick this week, despite his lack of experience. Who knows, his recent momentum could lead to another fairytale moment.
Garrick Higgo is not in Kansas anymore.