08 Jan 2020 | Amateur golf |
Lion Higo lights up Master of Amateurs
by Martin Blake
Queensland teenager Lion Higo has ignited the Australian Master of the Amateurs at Victoria with a stunning second-round 62 that included a hole-in-one.
The 16-year-old Higo, the daughter of Japanese immigrants and already a significant part of the Queensland’s elite junior programs, produced her career-low round at a critical moment.
It included nine birdies and an ace with an eight iron at the par-three fourth hole, beating her previous best of 65 in the opening round of last year’s Australian Amateur Championship.
“It’s exciting to be able to do a PB in a big event again,” she said afterward.
Astonishingly Higo, who lives at Merrimac and plays out of Emerald Lakes and Royal Pines on the Gold Coast where she was born, began her 10-under round with three regulation pars.
Then at the fourth, she lit the fuse. “It was 106 metres and there was some wind into my face, so I hit eight (iron),” she said. “I had 100m to carry the front bunker and it cleared that but I didn’t’ see it go in. I just heard people around the green and then people told me it was in. That was pretty exciting.’’
The Queenslander then birdied fifth and sixth, and rolled in four consecutive birdie putts from the eighth to the 11th holes. “Basically my shots started stringing to the hole and my putts were rolling really nicely as well. A lot of them (putts) were four and five metres, a good distance, even some crucial putts I got for up-and-downs as well. It came together really well.”
Nine-under through 13 holes, thoughts of a sub-60 round entered her consciousness. “There was a little bit of a thought at one point! But I just took it one shot at a time. It’s nice to have my playing partner to talk to and my Dad (Tex) on the bag.’’
A bogey at the par-three 14th put an end to those thoughts after he tee shot rolled back off the front of the green, but two more birdies coming in and a steady par at the last gave her the low round of the day by four shots, and a share of the lead with South Korea’s Min A Yoon and last year’s winner, Sydney player Stephanie Kyriacou, who carded a 66 today.
American Sahith Theegala (10-under) and Korean Jang Hyun Lee (8-under) are leading the men's event, but South Australian Jack Buchanan (7-under) is third and ready to pounce over the weekend.
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