Pam Higgins parred the first hole from three feet in a playoff with Judy Rankin today and won the $7,500 first prize in the American Cancer Society Golf Classic, first stop on the LPGA's 1977 tour.

Rankin's drive on the sudden-death 345-yard 13th hole hit a spectator and bounced next to the trunk of a tree. She punched out over the green.

Rankin shot 79 and Higgins had 69 for their four-under-par 212 totals.

Tied for third at 213 were Sandra Post and Roberta Albers Speer. Post, who had gone into the day leading the field by one shot, fired a one-over-par 73 and Speer shot an even-par 72 at the Kendale lakes Country Club course.

Rankin forced the tgournament into the third playoff of its nine-year history by saving par with a testing sixfoot uphill putt on the 18th.

For Higgins it was only her second title in eight years on the tour. The pert 31-year-old blonde scored her previous victory in 1971 in the Lincoln Mercury Open at Alamo, Calif.

Higgins said she was merely trying to make par on the sudden death hole because "A par usually keeps you going and a lot of times it's enough to win."