24 years old Kazuki Higa wins for the first time with the tournament record
Kazuki was leader by 3 shots coming into the Final Round. His family flew in from Okinawa on the first plane to cheer for him. At one time, his lead was shortened to only 2 shots, but he kept his calmness and went on to play his own golf.
But Kazuki's poker face was all gone, when he burst in to tears as his family pledged him with joy at 18th green side. At the winner's interview, Kazuki couldn't hold his tears and said, "My family has been supporting me so much" and hid his face under a towel.
Last year's Order of Merit Champion Shugo Imahira is 165 cm. Kazuki Higa is 158 cm, one of the smallest players in the Tour. He did try to get more height by training and drinking lots of milk. But when he was in his high school days, he was told that he won't gain more height.
Kazuki's mother said that he seemed shock about the fact, but soon changed his mind to gain something else. Something he can gain my working hard, and that was training to be tough, tough enough to have the stamina to last throughout the tournament.
After he has gone to Tohoku Fukushi University and was chosen to be in National Team, he was able to get world class coaching. He did feel very disappointed when he played among the 2m height players and was over driven about 40-50 yards. He did envy them, but that didn't let him down. He stopped crying over something he can't have and chose to gain another weapon of his own. So, he practiced every day, golf became a part of his daily life.
"I had to practice before I went out with my friends. It's like brushing your teeth. Must do every day. I know I am short. But there is nothing I could do about my height. It's not just golf but in any sports, if you have a handicap like me being short, must practice more. But if I can show the people with some handicaps like me that there is a chance if you work hard enough. That was something I wanted to accomplish since I was an amateur."
Kazuki might be small physically, but his heart and soul are big. He has shown it with the great 5 shot lead victory.