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Player of the Year Highsmith loses in playoff in pro debut

Joe Highsmith
Joe Highsmith

Well, that was fast.

In his first tournament as a professional, Joe Highsmith of Lakewood, Wash. shot rounds of 66-67-66-66 on the par-71 Edmonton (Alberta) Petroleum Golf and Country Club, tying for first place after 72 holes in the PGA TOUR Canada’s ATB Classic.

And although he then lost on the second hole of a three-way playoff when winner Wil Bateman chipped in for eagle, Highsmith’s tie for second in his pro debut has immediately announced himself as a player to be reckoned with on the feeder circuit for the PGA TOUR.

Highsmith had eagled the par-5 72nd hole to make it into the playoff.

See final scores here.

Highsmith, who went to high school at Bellarmine Prep in Tacoma, Wash., had earned playing status on this season’s PGA TOUR Canada via his performance this past college season, in which he was an All-American playing for the Pepperdine golf team and simultaneously on PGA TOUR University, which provides promising college players a faster route to the tour.

Highsmith was twice named the WA Golf Men’s Player of the Year (2021, 2019), and was also named the 2021 PNGA Men’s Player of the Year.

“It’s just golf. I know it’s my pro debut, but at the end of the day we’re still just playing golf,” said Highsmith. “The competition was pretty good. I wasn’t expecting it to be as good. I’m happy that generally most of the week I played well. It’s nice to know that my B-plus game, probably, can contend out here, and hopefully I can start to play a little better as the season goes on.”

A “little better” than tying for first and losing in a three-way playoff in your first try as a pro? We’re looking forward to seeing those fireworks.