ST. SIMONS ISLAND, Ga. — Harry Higgs misplaced his full PGA Tour card close to the tip of final season and took a step Friday at Sea Island towards getting it again.
Higgs performed bogey-free on the harder Seaside course for a 7-under 63, giving him a share of the lead with current Texas grad Cole Hammer and Andrew Putnam going into the weekend of the RSM Traditional.
Even with out anybody from the highest 20 on the earth at Sea Island, a lot is at stake within the remaining official PGA Tour occasion earlier than a six-week break to finish the yr.
Hammer, who had a 66 at Seaside, is taking part in on a sponsor exemption and has no full standing on any tour.
Putnam, whose solely PGA Tour title was in 2018, had a 65 on the Plantation course. He’s taking part in for the eighth time in 10 weeks, having missed solely the Bermuda Championship within the fall as a result of he is made each lower — he was a runner-up in Japan — and since the climate is not all that nice at house close to Seattle.
Higgs is an everyman, well-liked amongst his friends, and it stung to complete final season the way in which he did. After he tied for 14th in his Masters debut, Higgs missed the lower in 10 of his previous 14 occasions to complete out of the highest 125 within the FedEx Cup. He went to the Korn Ferry Tour Finals and missed the lower in all three of these tournaments.
Now he has conditional standing, and this presents an amazing alternative. Job safety might be anxious on the PGA Tour, particularly going right into a season by which solely 70 will qualify for the profitable postseason.
“It is behind your thoughts. It at all times is for nearly everyone apart from a number of the high gamers on the earth,” Higgs stated. “However it may inspire you to work a little bit bit more durable, make higher selections. The aim is to probably not have to fret about it come March or as early as potential, proper?”
The leaders have been at 12-under 130.
Joel Dahmen (64 on Plantation), Beau Hossler (67 on Plantation) and Sahith Theegala, who matched Higgs with a 63 on Seaside, have been 1 shot behind.
Dahmen gained within the Dominican Republic final yr and his exemption runs out after this season. He typically rooms with Higgs, so he can respect the sensation of taking part in with the stress of attempting to maintain a job.
“Golf may be very arduous and it may go bitter rapidly,” Dahmen stated. “To play with freedom for … two-and-a-half years, actually, by no means had that in my profession. So yeah, teeing up in Napa was like, ‘OK, we’re again at sq. one. If you happen to do not play effectively, you do not have a job.’ I used to be very conscious of that.
“I do not give it some thought essentially after I’m on the market, however there’s been a pair additional days of observe, for positive.”
The climate wasn’t fairly as chilly because the opening spherical, and scoring remained low. The lower was at 4-under 138.
Hammer, who made his first PGA Tour lower as a professional final week in Houston, made bogeys from the green on the seventh and eighth holes at Seaside — two of the simpler holes for the day — after which turned it round with an method to three toes on No. 9 after which a birdie putt from 18 toes on the following gap.
He was bogey-free the remainder of the way in which and will likely be within the remaining group on the weekend.
“I used to be a little bit bit depressed after 7 and eight. I put myself in nice place to make birdies and I walked out with two bogeys, and that is virtually inexcusable,” Hammer stated. “However coming again firing on 9 after which making a birdie on 10 — erasing these bogeys on two of the harder holes immediately — was enormous for momentum and for confidence.”