He finished in four over par 76 and probably needs a 72 or even better to make it into the weekend. But these are happy and exciting times for Higgins who nine weeks ago celebrated the birth of his first child, Daniel, called after his two great grandfathers who had the same name.
“Yeah, life is very good these days,” said the 43 year-old who clearly loves his golf as much as ever and who will be back alongside the big guns again next week when he takes part in the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth.
“Daniel’s arrival created great excitement for the entire family and Elizabeth has a very nice graphic design business in Waterville so everything in that area is just fine. I have also been very happy with my golf in recent times.
“People might believe I came here happy just to make the cut but that was not the case. I was confident going into the tournament and that’s still the case and I certainly intend to battle on. It is two years since I played in a European Tour event but that’s no excuse for poor scoring because after two or three holes, it feels like you never left.”
Higgins spends most of his time these days in his native Waterville looking after the club members and teaching while also keeping his own game in good shape.He got off to a poor start yesterday with a bogey and double bogey at his first two holes but a birdie at the 14th helped to steady the ship. In a very strong early afternoon wind, he went through the turn in two over but after six pars on the way home, slipped up over the last few and was a little unlucky at his final hole.
A good drive finished behind a giant tree bisecting the fairway and meant he was just off the front edge in two. However, he judged the giant 60 foot putt to perfection only to miss from four feet for his par. A round of 76 leaves Higgins back in a share of 114th place.
Two other members of the six strong IPGA contingent, Neil O’Briain of Old Conna and Donegal golfer Ruaidhri McGee (whose career has progressed considerably since deciding to become a vegan last year) finished one ahead of Higgins on 75 and can now look forward to the best of the weather conditions this morning while Glasson’s Colm Moriarty could be well satisfied with a 77.
But it was a trying experience for Eamonn Brady, a former amateur international and nowadays the pro at Clontarf. He soared to a 16 over par 88.
The three strong Irish amateur contingent did themselves proud, especially man-in-form Colm Campbell from Warrenpoint who was out in the worst of the elements early in the day and outscored several distinguished professionals with a three over par 75 in spite of a seven at the 13th.
Campbell last weekend shot 16 under par in the Irish Amateur Open at Royal Dublin and still won by only a single shot from Jack Hume, the Walker Cup star from Naas. Hume also coped well with the weather and the unaccustomed pressure of a major pro tournament to get round in 77, one better than Ulster’s John Ross Galbraith.