Jake Higginbottom of Australia plays a shot during day four of the New Zealand Open Championship at Clearwater Golf Course on November 25, 2012 in Christchurch, New Zealand.
Jake Higginbottom of Australia plays a shot during day four of the New Zealand Open Championship at Clearwater Golf Course on November 25, 2012 in Christchurch, New Zealand. Getty Images / Martin Hunter

Aussie teen Jake Higginbottom moves up in golfing ranks

AFTER winning last week's New Zealand Open as an amateur, Aussie teenager Jake Higginbottom will compete in this week's $100,000 NSW PGA Championship as a professional.

The 19-year-old became the first amateur since Harry Berwick in 1956 to win the New Zealand Open, but missed out on the $72,000 winner's cheque because of his status.

Immediately after the tournament he told reporters he planned to continue playing as an amateur, but within a few hours had a change of heart.

That was no doubt prompted by the fact the victory gave him a two-year exemption on the OneAsia Tour and the PGA Tour of Australasia, as well as automatic entry into the second round of both the 2013 US PGA and European Tour qualification schools.

Higginbottom has been installed as one of the favourites for the NSW PGA, with Nick Cullen to start favourite after finishing 9th in the NZ Open and 6th in the WA Open last month.

Other players expected to do well include Craig Hancock, Matthew Griffin, Daniel Nisbet and amateur Ryan Fox.


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