Jake Higginbottom leads in Fiji
BY Bruce Young | Australasian PGA Tour | 2014 Fiji International | Round Two | 15 Aug 2014
The inaugural Fiji International has reached the halfway mark at the Natadola Bay Golf Course and the twenty year old New South Welshman Jake Higginbottom has opened up a two shot lead over Queenslanders Cameron Smith, and Andrew Dodt and the Queensland based New South Welshman Steve Jeffress.
Higginbottom added a second round of 69 to his opening 68 to lead at 7 under as he pursues a second PGA Tour of Australasia event to go with the 2012 New Zealand Open Championship title he won as an amateur.
Brazilian golfer Lucas Lee is in outright 5th position three shots off the lead while in a share of 6th are Brad Kennedy, Michael Sim and Jason Scrivener.
On a tough and windy second day the exposed layout provided a strong test for the field of mainly OneAsia and PGA Tour of Australasia field, the cut eventually falling at 5 over with exactly 60 players making it through to the weekend.
Higginbottom has played on mainly the Asian Tour and Australasian Tour since turning professional soon after his New Zealand Open victory late in 2012 but it has been a battle in more recent times missing eleven of his last 14 cuts.
Higginbottom has quickly learned the subtleties of the Natadola Bay layout. “I mean it’s a great course, it’s pretty challenging especially when the wind gets up. But I feel I’ve worked out how to play it. You have to be smart and aggressive.”
Smith, too, has been playing in Asia this season, the former Australian Amateur Champion finishing runner-up at the Indonesian Masters earlier this year in his rookie season on the Asian Tour.
Dodt, after several seasons in Europe, now no longer enjoys status there and has been playing in both Asia and Australia this season. He did sufficiently well in a few events last year in Asia to just retain his status on that Tour although a good week here would earn him the right to play the OneAsia Tour also.
Jeffress earned the right to play the Japan Tour this season but it has been a struggle although he is generally considered a player capable of better than those efforts would suggest.
The event’s marquee players Brendan Jones, Vijay Singh and Nick Price all made the cut, Jones at 1 under and in a share of 9th position, Singh 40th and Price just making the cut in 53rd position.