Murwillumbah young gun Lucas Higgins hopes to use his $50,000 Wagga Pro-Am victory as a launching pad to bigger and better things.
The 23-year-old upstaged some of Australia's best golfers to win the coveted Pro-Am title on Friday at his first visit to Wagga Country Club.
Higgins held his nerve in a tense final round and backed up Thursday's round of 66 with a solid score of 67 in what proved enough to secure a one-shot victory.
Higgins finished with pars at the 17th and 18th to close out at 13 under and hold off Newcastle's Brendan Smith by one shot.
Alexander Simpson, the co-overnight leader, was a further shot back in third spot.
Some of the competition's big names came out with all guns blazing on Friday to put the pressure on the leading pack.
Peter Lonard shot a 66 to shoot up the leaderboard to six under, while the likes of Marcus Fraser (-9), Jordan Zunic (-7) and Andre Stolz (-7) began to loom ominously at stages of the second round.
But it was the youngster from northern NSW that ultimately held his cool and went on to claim the biggest win of his short career.
"It feels awesome, really good, really happy," Higgins said.
"It means a lot. It means I know I can compete, I know I can build when I'm under pressure and just to come out and win in a field like this feels great.
"This would be my best win so far. I've had three Pro-Am wins before this but they've all been one-dayers, and two of them were tied with other people. So to win a two-dayer by myself feels good, it feels great.
"There were some very good golfers in the field for sure."
Higgins was among a packed leaderboard entering the back straight but soon put himself out in front when he birdied 14, and then eagled the 15th.
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"Basically through 10 holes, nothing went my way. Every bounce didn't go my way, every putt found a way to just miss," he said.
"Then I kind of just knew if I could knuckle down, if I play good golf I can override that momentum and then the putter just basically heated up. I hit it pretty decent all day but the putter heated up and that was kind of it from there."
Higgins works casually in the Pro Shop at Murwillumbah and spends the rest of his time playing and working on his game.
He hopes the Wagga win, on the back of a third-placing earlier this month at the TPS event at Bonnie Doon, can help launch his career, starting with his Australasian tour card.
"I'm hoping it can lead into some confidence at the main tour events and try and get my card for next year, basically," he said.
FINAL PRO-AM LEADERBOARD
-13 Lucas Higgins (64, 67)
-12 Brendan Smith (65, 67)
-11 Alexander Simpson (64, 69)
-10 Jay McKenzie (68, 66), Tim Hart (70, 64), Nathan Miller (66, 68)
-9 Damien Jordan (66, 69), Marcus Fraser (68, 67)
-7 Jordan Zunic (69, 68), Jamie Hook (68, 69), Andre Stolz (68, 69)
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