BMW NZ Open Champion Jake Progresses to Pro

Jake Higginbottom

Jake Higginbottom / Getty Images

BMW  NZ Open Champion Jake Higginbottom has suddenly decided to progress from Amateur status to Professional following his amazing win at the Clearwater Resort in Christchurch on Sunday. Jake, who could not collect the first prize of $A80,000 on Sunday, originally said he would not rush into professional golf, and would probably turn Pro at the end of next year. I guess his 67 in the final round, withstanding all the pressure from the professionals trying to chase him down, and the lure of all the money available for him to play for has grabbed his attention. Jake’s victory has earned him a two-year exemption on OneAsia Tour and also the PGA Tour of Australia, he also gets automatic entry into the second round of the 2013 US PGA and European PGA Tour qualification schools. The possibilities for him, if he plays well are endless, Jake said he felt comfortable with the move to the professional ranks;

“I’ve discussed this with my team and we’re all very comfortable with the move. I feel that the time is right as I now have playing opportunities in the professional ranks. It’s exciting and I’m looking forward to starting my pro career.”

Jake will play his  first event as a professional at the NSW PGA Championship this week at Mt Broughton Golf and Country Club. Golf Australia director Brad James is pleased that their performance program has produced such a talent;

“This is great news for Jake and exactly what Golf Australia and the State Associations strive to achieve in taking players to the next level. Jake has worked hard over the last 12 months and we’re pleased to see him make the next step in his career.”

We wish Jake well in his career as a professional golfer.

BMW New Zealand Open, Won by Aussie Amateur, Jake Higginbottom

Special victory for Higginbottom

Jake Higginbottom/pga,ord.au

Aussie Amateur Jake Higginbottom was won the BMW New Zealand Open at the Clearwater Resort, with a final round of  -5 under par, 67, and a tournament total of -7 under par. Jake had to fight hard to repel the challenge from fellow Aussie’s Jason Norris and Peter Wilson, who both finished tied for second at -6 under par.

Jake made history by becoming the first amateur golfer for 56 years to be crowned New Zealand Open champion with his one-shot victory in the BMW-sponsored tournament hosted by Christchurch at Clearwater Resort on Sunday. The 19 year-old Ausssie  from New South Wales, started the final round three shots adrift of Mark Brown, New Zealand’s main hope of ending a drought of nine years since a Kiwi held aloft the winner’s silverware, the Brodie Breeze Trophy.

Jake was happy to be beating the professionals, to know he was a good as them;

“It is a great feeling and it means a lot me. It is good to come over here and play against the professionals and know that I am as good as them. Mum was crying and Dad was just happy that I made a good speech. I actually talked about the 18th with my mates before the final round. They asked me what I would do if I had a one shot lead down the last and I told them I would just rip one down there.I was most nervous when I had that short putt on the last but it was nice to see that drop and to win is really good. It was good to be a couple behind after the front nine because I knew that I had to make birdies. That is what I did so it was good.”

Mark Brown summed up his disappointing day with the putter, he finished fourth after his +1 over par last round;

” I played well enough, I played beautifully for first 10 holes and didn’t miss a shot.But I only really holed one putt and had 34 for the day which is never going to win a golf tournament. I don’t know, I didn’t start them on line so there’s a technical issue there. I gave myself a lot of chances and think I hit 33 greens for the last 36 holes so that’s a lot of chances I didn’t take. It’s frustration and probably been a career thing for me so I’ve got to get better if I want to reach the goals I want to meet. I’ll go away, work hard, and try and get better.”

So New Zealand will have to wait another year before the chance of having another Kiwi winning the BMW New Zealand Open.