CHARLESTON, S.C. – Olivia Jordan-Higgins has experienced the gamut that professional golf has to offer in her seven years on the Symetra Tour. The Charleston Southern alum took an early step toward achieving her dream of earning an LPGA Tour card two weeks ago with a victory at the Florida's Natural Charity Classic. Her third career professional win is the type of rewarding experience that makes the city to city, hotel to hotel grind of women's golf's top minor league circuit worthwhile.
"It's been interesting" said Jordan-Higgins of her Symetra Tour stint since graduating from CSU in 2010. "You have a lot of ups and downs and live out of a suitcase, sometimes. The sacrifice is all worth it for moments like this when you win."
Jordan-Higgins had to wait nearly three years for her third win, and had to wait around in Sunday's final round at the Country Club of Winter Haven. After a nearly two-hour rain delay, she broke a tie for the lead with a three-under stretch over her final ten holes to surge to 10-under par and top the field. The triumph in the Tour's first event of 2017 puts Jordan-Higgins on top of the money list, with the top-ten players at season's end moving on to the LPGA. Jordan-Higgins finished in the top-20 each year from 2012 to 2014, coming just $114 shy of reaching the LPGA with an 11th place standing in 2013.
"It would obviously mean the world to me," Jordan-Higgins said. "That is what I've dreamed of and what I've lived for."
That dream began taking shape during an illustrious career at Charleston Southern. Jordan-Higgins found her way to CSU from her hometown of Jersey, a small island off the coast of France, through a golf scholarship consulting agency called Prodream USA. Under the guidance of former CSU coaches Howard Vroon, Mike Wilson and Kory Thompson, she steadily improved her scoring average to become one of the best players in school and Big South Conference history.
Jordan-Higgins was the 2009 Big South Player of the Year but was at her best as a senior. She won medalist honors at the Big South Championship with an event record one-under par 54-hole tally, leading the Bucs to the team title and a berth in the NCAA Regionals in the process. Jordan-Higgins, who graduated with a degree in Kinesiology, was selected 2010 CSU Female Athlete of the Year and named a finalist for NCAA Woman of the Year.
"CSU was the best fit for me," said Jordan-Higgins, who also considered offers from West Virginia and Nova Southeastern. "The size of the school was ideal and my team had a lot to do with it. It's such a great community school – a close-knit place where everyone's friendly."
Since moving on from CSU, Jordan-Higgins has regularly kept in touch with Wilson – now the men's coach at UAB – and Thompson – now the women's coach at Ole Miss – while also keeping tabs on the Bucs. Shelby Thompson and Hayley McNeill are both within striking distance of toppling Jordan-Higgins' program record season scoring average of 74.25, set in 2009-10.
"The program's come a long way since I started," Jordan-Higgins said. "Sophomore year, we had four people on the team. I keep up with them and it's been great to see some of the success the men and women have enjoyed."