Higginbottom in form at NSW PGA

Jake Higginbottom took no time to confirm his status in the professional ranks with a stellar 7-under, 65, course record to enjoy a one stroke lead over Brendan Smith in the NSW PGA Championship at Mt Broughton Golf Club, south of Sydney.

On Tuesday, Higginbottom announced that he was turning professional on the back of his win last week at the New Zealand Open. His decision spurred on by the automatic playing privileges on the Australasia and OneAsia Tour as well as a start in the second round of the US PGA and European Tour Q schools.

Jake Higginbottom Jake Higginbottom (Credit: Anthony Powter)

Carding nine birdies and two bogeys at Mt Broughton, Higginbottom played peerless golf around one of the most challenging layout in Australia.

“I don’t hit it super long, but the fairways are firm and the course doesn’t play as long as it actually is, but it’s a good course and it suits my game,” said Higginbottom.

The move to the professional ranks following his win in New Zealand was really a no-brainer for the talented Novocastrian.

There was little left Higginbottom could achieve in the amateur ranks and it was unlikely he would wait another two years to have a go at the Eisenhower Trophy after Golf Australia overlook his inclusion on the recent team they sent to Turkey.

Higginbottom certainly was dominate throughout the Australian amateur summer winning the Riversdale Cup in style after earlier claiming the Keperra Bowl.

Despite a disappointing US and UK tour this year – which clearly cost him a Eisenhower position – the 19-year-old continued to play a style of golf that would see him destined to the professional ranks.

“It was a decision I made after winning the tournament [in New Zealand],” remarked Higginbottom following today’s round.

“With all the exemptions I received it would have been stupid not to turn Professional. I know I can compete at this level and I feel my game is ready. So I said ‘lets do this’.”

Along with Smith at 6-under is Adam Stephens, who shot the round of the afternoon field.

New Zealand’s Ryan Fox, Sweden’s Thomas Petersson and New South Welshman Matthew Stieger currently share fourth position at 5-under par.