Higgins five adrift as Bell & Bond lead the way at Senior PGA Professional Championship


David Higgins (Photo by Richard Martin-Roberts/Getty Images for PGA)

Ireland’s David Higgins (Waterville) returned a second round 71 with a tough stretch of closing holes proving his undoing at the Senior PGA Professional Championship.

Higgins made the turn in 32 strokes after burdies on the 1st, 2nd and 7th but a bad run from the 14th saw him finish double bogey, bogey, par, bogey par for an inward 39 strokes on the Romford Course for his second round. He’s sitting on 3-under par and is five shots behind the leader Graeme Bell.

Damien Mooney (Lough Erne) remains the next best Irish player on one-over par alongside Robert Giles (Greenore) in T17 position after two consecutive 71s while Brendan McGovern is two-over par in T22.


Bell remains in pole position, although he has Liam Bond hot on his heels with both players scoring three-under-par (67) on day two of this year’s championship.

After opening with an impressive five-under-par on day one, Bell along with Bond returned the best score of the day once again as the duo are set to go head-to-head to decide this year’s champion.

Bell raced to three-under-par through seven before picking up his first bogey at the ninth. Another bogey followed at hole 10 but a fourth birdie of the round put Bell back on track. Two further birdies and one bogey saw the Hartlepool pro finish on eight-under-par for the week with one round to go.

“I played decent in patches and got away with murder to be honest,” said Bell, who played on the Romford Golf Club course. “I didn’t have very many putts on the last 9 holes, but you take what you can get!

“This course (Romford) is more difficult as my strengths aren’t necessarily off the tee – you have to be accurate off the tee which isn’t my forté really, and I’m not a very long hitter – my short game saved me a lot today, which is what I’m known for really.

“I didn’t come here expecting to win, I came here trying to get into the top 15, so hopefully I’ll get in there this year, I’ve got a bit of a head start! We’ll just have to see what happens.”

Bond will no doubt be doing all he can to put pressure on Bell on the final day of the championship, which will be played at Romford and after shooting a bogey-free round of 67 on day two he said: “I played very well today – I played better today than I did yesterday, and again I played better on the back 9 than the front 9 – I’m a slow starter!

“It was nice to play the course today and see that there’s a few things that have changed since last year, like the 18th is now a par 4 instead of a par 5, so now that I’ve seen it, I feel like I’ll be okay tomorrow.

“It’s feels good to be going into the final day around the top and with a chance to win, that’s what you’re here for.”

Looking ahead to the finale, Romford Course Manager, Antony Kirwan, added: “We started preparation about 4-5 weeks ago with some intense grooming, trying to get the greens up to an acceptable level. After the cold and wet weather we’ve had recently here in the South East, this week has been dry, warm and sunny so it’s enabled us to really fine-tune our playing surfaces for the week.

“The key is consistency so we try to make sure all the greens are the same speed throughout the week from the practice day to the final.”

“There’s been some nice comments from the players, which is nice because you feel like all the hard work you’ve put in over the last 4-5 weeks has come to fruition and they’re enjoying it, even if they haven’t played well!”

CLICK HERE to view a full leaderboard from day two of the 2023 Senior PGA Championship.

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