SYRACUSE As the skies darkened over Drumlins Country Club’s East course early Sunday evening, Olivia Jordan-Higgins stared at a five-foot par putt on the 18th green at the climax of the Symetra Tour’s Credit Union Classic.
Make it, and Jordan-Higgins, a native of Great Britain’s Channel Islands, would earn her first pro title. Miss it, and she would be in a playoff with last week’s winner, Thailand star P.K. Kongkraphan.
“I was definitely nervous,” said Jordan-Higgins. “My hands were shaking.”
But Jordan-Higgins calmed down to drain the putt for victory. She pumped her fist, and was doused with water by fellow pros within seconds as she also shared a long hug with her father.
With a total of 207, six under par, Jordan-Higgins held off Kongkraphan by a single shot and earned the $15,000 top prize, and while she didn’t mean to, also spared tour officials and tournament volunteers of a real dilemma.
Just seconds after the tournament ended, a huge rainstorm deluged Drumlins, which would have made a playoff impossible on Sunday, and perhaps difficult on Monday, too, since heavy rains earlier in the final round caused a four-hour delay just after the leaders teed off.
Perhaps it only figured that Jordan-Higgins would have to work hard for her first victory. Two weeks earlier, at the Credit Union Challenge in Albany, Jordan-Higgins had a two-stroke lead going to the final round, only to finish second to Wei-Ling Hsu.
Here, the same scenario presented itself, and the bad weather only added to the challenge. But Jordan-Higgins was up to it, completing a tournament journey that began with a three-under-par 68 in bright, sunny conditions on Friday morning.
Beginning Saturday’s second round two shots behind Kongkraphan, Jordan-Higgins birdied the first three holes to burst into serious contention. Then a birdie on 10, and long birdie putts on 12 and 13, helped her to a 67 to take the outright lead at 135, seven under.