Higgs chips away to earn dream date in Portugal

Portsmouth duo James Green and amateur Tim Higgs celebrate their win at Walton Heath
Portsmouth duo James Green and amateur Tim Higgs celebrate their win at Walton Heath
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Portsmouth amateur Tim Higgs is relishing the ‘chance of a lifetime’ after making it through to the Lombard Trophy final in Portugal.

Carpenter Higgs teamed up with Portsmouth Golf Club professional James Green to win the qualifying event at Walton Heath by just one shot in a closely fought competition.

It was Higgs who holed the vital putt at the 18th – as the pair carded an eight-under-par round of 64 at the Surrey course.

They edged out Mark Treleaven and Martin Eaton, from Hayling Golf Club, and Steve Cowle and Ben Homewood, representing Worldham Golf Club, who tied for second spot.

The Portsmouth pairing now head for the £41,000 Coca-Cola and Pestana resorts-supported national pro-am grand.

The battle for the overall crown will be played at the Vila Sol resort in the Algarve on September 21 and 22.

Higgs, aged 31, revealed he had no idea his putt would be so important – as the pair did not know how close they were to the top of the leaderboard.

And insisted that was probably a blessing.

‘I managed to sneak the birdie in at the end but I didn’t know it would win it for us,’ said the 10-handicapper.

‘There was no real pressure on us, so I just played my game and watched James driving it miles down the middle. He hits it a lot further than I can.

‘When we came off the 18th hole, we knew we had made a good score but we weren’t sure it would be enough to win it.

‘But it was and I still can’t take it all in.

‘It was enough for me just to play at Walton Heath but going to Portugal is the chance of a lifetime.

‘I’ve been playing what I would call solidly for about five years now and I have been a member at Portsmouth for four of them.

‘I just love golf. I can’t get enough of it, sometimes I end up hating it, too, but I always come back for more!

Green and Higgs began their victory charge on the back nine where they made six birdies – including four in successive holes.

It will be Green’s first appearance in the Lombard Trophy final and he is also delighted to have made it to Portugal.

‘We started quite steadily,’ said the Portsmouth Golf Club professional and centre manager.

‘We then covered each other’s backs and ended up making five birdies in the final six holes.

‘I don’t think we dropped a shot so that was good.

‘It all fell into place with Tim birdying the last hole. It was a really nice finish.

‘I was keeping the score in my head but I thought someone would get nine or 10-under par – so we couldn’t get ahead of ourselves.

‘When I saw the scoreboard, it was a pleasant surprise.

‘Then we were having dinner and keeping a check on the scoreboard at the same time.’