CHARLESTOWN’S Jake Higginbottom hopes to relax and regroup at the NSW Open ahead of the Australian Open and a late push to retain his Asian Tour card.
Higginbottom will be one of 12 Hunter golfers at the NSW Open at Twin Creeks in Luddenham on Thursday.
He was tied eighth on 16 under at the event last year before a tied 14th with six under at the Australian Open. He returns this year from the Asian Tour, where he is 56th on the order of merit chasing a top-60 finish.
After the November 23-26 Australian Open, Higginbottom will skip the Australian PGA to defend his Asian Tour spot at the Mauritius Open and Indonesian Masters. It’s a familiar scenario for Higginbottom, who was 83rd in 2015 to drop off the tour. Before that, he was 53rd (2014) and 60th (2013) to narrowly retain his card.
“Unfortunately, I’ve been there a few times,” Higginbottom, 24, said.
“But the game feels good and just a few solid results and it should be OK.
“I’m just trying to keep my form going. I’ve been pretty busy so I’m just going to take this as a tournament where I don’t do too much practice and just take it easy and rest up for the Open and the end of the year.
“It’s just good to come back home and spend a couple of days in my own bed.”
Higginbottom tees off at 12.35pm. Other Hunter hopes are Nathan Green (7.15), Aaron Townsend, James Nitties (7.55), Ed Stedman (6.45), Dylan Perry (7.15), Nick Flanagan (8.05), Nathan Waters (8.45), Leigh McKechnie (11.55), Callan O’Reilly (13.05) and Mark Hale (13.45).
Meanwhile, Higginbottom was keen to fine-tune his short game ahead of playing at The Australian course in Sydney at the main event of his homecoming.
“I’m trying to work a bit on my wedge game,” he said.
“Just distance control and things like that leading into the Open because at The Australian, it’s tough around the greens there.”