Jake Higginbottom may not be a household name in American junior golf circles, but Australia has gotten to know the 17-year-old well over the last month. Prior to traveling to Arizona for the Thunderbird International Junior, Higginbottom has notched three consecutive victories since May 6.
The month started with a 2-and-1 victory in the 36-hole final at the Queensland Amateur. The following week, he posted a 15-under-par 273 and won by a shot at the Keperra Bowl. The trifecta was completed on May 20 when a 10-under-par 274 performance put him atop the leaderboard at the Handa Junior Masters.
After a second-round 67 at the Thunderbird International Junior, he’s once again in the final pairing and only one shot behind leader Billy Kennerly.
“(My expectations) are still the same. Hopefully I can play well and I expect to keep playing better. I’m playing well at the moment so that’s good,” a humble Higginbottom said.
Five days after winning the Handa Junior Masters, Higginbottom traveled 7,800 miles to Scottsdale to compete at Grayhawk Golf Club – a desert course in harsh weather conditions that isn’t the norm in Australia.
“Out here you just have to hit your iron shots into the green a little bit higher to make them land a bit softer,” he said. “I know I can go low out here now and it’s great to have a bit of confidence going into the last round.”
In 12 years, an international boy has never been crowned champion at the Thunderbird International Junior. With one more tournament-clinching round, Higginbottom can extend his winning streak to four while also ending a 12-year drought for international boys at Grayhawk Golf Club.
By Chris Richards, AJGA Communications