Teen Higginbottom speeds up his plan to turn pro after New Zealand win

Jake Higginbottom and Michael Hendry
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Jake Higginbottom (blue shirt) had an aquatic adventure during the New Zealand Open, but still won the tournament. His victory prompted him go ahead and turn professional now.
Associated Press

Series: Other Tour

Published: Tuesday, November 27, 2012 | 6:22 p.m.

SYDNEY -- Australian teenager Jake Higginbottom has announced his decision to turn professional, only two days after his breakthrough victory at the BMW New Zealand Open.

The 19-year-old Higginbottom had to forego the $72,000 winner's check after winning by a shot over his fellow Australians Peter Wilson and Jason Norris at the Clearwater Resort on Sunday.

He will make his professional debut at the New South Wales PGA Championship at Mount Broughton in New South Wales, Australia, starting Thursday.

Higginbottom also will be in the field for the Australian Open in Sydney next week and the Australian PGA Championships at Coolum in December.

Higginbottom became the first amateur to win the New Zealand Open since Harry Berwick in 1956. He also become the second amateur winner in the last three PGA Tour of AustralAsia events. Fellow Australian teen Oliver Goss won the Western Australia Open on Oct. 28 at Royal Perth, beating Brady Watt -- also an amateur -- on the fifth hole of a playoff.