In a final round, the 23-year-old from Murwillumbah in the NSW Northern Rivers prevailed on two shots from overnight leader David Bransdon with rounds of 64 and 69, to finish at 11 under par.
Tied for third place, another return shot was the group of Jordan Mullaney, Josh Clarke, Andrew Campbell of Coffs Harbor and Higgins’ last round playing partner Jay Mackenzie.
The win is Higgins’ first tournament victory after collecting an impressive four pro-ams since turning pro in April last year.
As befits Higgins, the victory came on the course his father, David, played as a child.
“Dad played all of his junior golf here at Muswellbrook so it was a real treat to have him on the bag caddy for me this week too,” smiled Higgins victoriously.
Higgins fared better on a day when most of the major contenders got off to bright starts. Birdies on the third, sixth and eighth holes saw him quickly catch, then pass, first-round leader Bransdon and head home with a two-shot buffer.
However, Higgins’ lead quickly evaporated, with Bransdon scoring back-to-back birdies. Unfortunately for the Victorian, that had to be as far as his challenge would go. The veteran dropped a shot on the 13th, and when Higgins birdied the par5 15th at the Bransdon bogey, the tournament was effectively over, much to the relived Higgins’ delight.
“It’s a nice feeling to play a little more formal tournament and do it,” Higgins said after the round.
“I just kept hitting hard and making the putts I needed to keep the momentum going.
“I didn’t hit quite well on the back nine, and it was about bringing the ship home a bit, but there were a few nerves.
“I was only one stroke ahead with four to go, but suddenly I was three ahead with three to go, so that gave me some breathing room.”
With the fifth victory on the national stage and a place in the PLAY TODAY NSW Open secured, Higgins said the prize money would be a welcome and timely boost to his plans for the rest of the year.
“I’ll be playing most of the regular season here and hope to play the Open and PGA at the end of November. After that I’m looking at the Asian Tour School at the end of the year, so this prize money definitely helps me get going; that’s the goal.
Trio Book Open Slots
Winner Lucas Higgins, runner-up David Bransdon and Coffs Harbor-based professional Andrew Campbell have booked their place at PLAY TODAY NSW Open 2023.
Although disappointed not to have taken the win, Bransdon was still happy to know that his position in next year’s championship was secured.
” It was hard. I didn’t play very well and didn’t make a lot of holes today,” Bransdon said.
“I would have been borderline getting into the NSW Open so it’s good to have it, especially towards the end of the touring season.”
After shooting the lowest round of the day, a par 66 six-under, Campbell was equally thrilled to know that his spot in the 92-year-old’s championship was also secure.
“I’ve played a few (NSW Opens) already, but it’s good to lock in a spot. I played some good golf today shooting six cents, so hopefully I can enjoy it for the rest of the year and next year’s Open.