World No 5 Higgins managed just one break of more 50 in the entire match and found himself just one frame away from an upset at 4-5.
But the size of the challenge appeared to get to the under-21 world champion who managed just 13 points in the final two frames as Higgins, 44, made it into the first round.
Ding Junhui meanwhile also needed all 11 frames to make his way into the main draw despite taking a commanding early lead against world No 93 Simon Lichtenberg.
Asia's No 1 player led 4-0 and 5-2 in the match but the German never gave up, forcing a final frame before coming up just short.
Ding Junhui of China Team A plays a shot in the semi-final match against Stephen Maguire and John Higgins of Scotland on day seven of 2019 Beverly World Cup at Wuxi City Sports Stadium on June 30, 2019 in Wuxi, Jiangsu Province of China.
Image credit: Getty Images
Judd Trump meanwhile was in superb form as he hit three centuries, and finished five frames with a total of 100 or more to defeat Jordan Brown.
A break of 93 was enough to secure the first frame, followed by one of 131 and 100 in the next two frames, to leave him 3-0 up.
David Gilbert defeated Irish veteran Ken Doherty 6-2, with Gary Wilson beating the similarly experienced Peter Ebdon 6-1.
Brown edged the fourth 63-57, and won the fifth by another tight margin of 69-63, to keep him in touching distance.
However Trump was able to win four of the next five frames to win the best of 11 and send him through to the next round.
China's Yan BIngtao found life even easier in his qualifier as he ran out a 6-1 winner over Alfie Burden.
There was good news for Welsh snooker, as Daniel Wells defeated Barry Hawkins 6-4, but Ryan Day fell by the same score to Kurt Maflin.
Ricky Walden defeated Thepchaiya Un-Nooh 6-2 in his round one match that had been carried over, while Stuart Bingham demolished Mark Joyce 6-1.
Ali Carter scraped past Scotsman Alan McManus, needing every frame of the 11 to beat the 49-ranked opponent 6-5.
Stephen Maguire completed a whitewash over Stuart Carrington, while Jimmy Robertson defeated Matthew Stevens 6-4.
Qualification Round 1 Results
Yan Bingtao (CHI) 6-1 Alfie Burden (ENG)
Judd Trump (ENG) 6-3 Jordan Brown (ENG)
Anthony McGill (SCO) 6-3 Zhao Jianbo (CHI)
Sam Craigie (ENG) 6-2 Pang Junxu (CHI)
Mark Allen (ENG) 6-1 Peter Lines (ENG)
John Higgins (SCO) 6-5 Wu Yize (CHI)
Ding Junhui (CHI) 6-5 Simon Lichtenberg (GER)
Round 1 Results
Joe Perry (ENG) 6-2 Chris Wakelin (ENG)
Jimmy Roberston (ENG) 6-4 Mathew Stevens (WAL)
Stephen Maguire (SCO) 6-0 Stuart Carrington (ENG)
Gary Wilson (ENG) 6-1 Peter Ebdon (ENG)
David Gilbert (ENG) 6-2 Ken Doherty (IRL)
Kurt Maflin (DEN) 6-4 Ryan Day (WAL)
Mark Davis (ENG) 6-3 Matthew Selt (ENG)
Elliot Slessor (ENG) 6-4 Louis Heathcote (ENG)
Neil Robertson (AUS) 6-2 Nigel Bond (ENG)
Graeme Dott (SCO) 6-1 Michael White (WAL)
Ricky Walden (ENG) 6-2 Thepchaiya Un-Nooh (THA)
Stuart Bingham (ENG) 6-1 Mark Joyce (ENG)
Daniel Wells (WAL) 6-2 Barry Hawkins (ENG)
Robert Milkins (ENG) 6-3 Zhou Yuelong (CHI)
Tom Ford (ENG) w/o Hossen Vafael (IRN)
Ali Carter (ENG) 6-5) Alan McManus (SCO)