01 Nov 2021 | Professional golf |

Aussies On Tour: Herbert's wild ride to Augusta

by PGA of Australia

Lucas Herbert celebration image
Lucas Herbert celebrates on the 18th green at Bermuda today. Photo: Getty

By Tony Webeck

Prior to arriving at Port Royal Golf Course all Lucas Herbert knew of Bermuda was that it was a place where planes and boats mysteriously go missing.

Yet by Sunday night – and in wild weather so severe he had to seek shelter mid-round – Lucas Herbert had found his game and written his name into the history books as winner of the 2021 Butterfield Bermuda Championship.

With tee times brought forward to avoid enough of the wind and rain to get the final round completed, Herbert began his round four shots adrift of leader Taylor Pendrith.

That margin was reduced to two by the time the final group reached the fourth tee and when Pendrith (76) made three bogeys in succession in the worst of the weather from the sixth hole, Herbert’s clutch up-and-down at the par-3 eighth earned him a share of the lead alongside Kiwi Danny Lee (71).

A dropped shot at nine saw Herbert fall one behind but birdie putts from 20 and 35 feet at the 12th and 14th holes respectively saw him wrest control as his challengers fell by the wayside.

Former Masters champion Patrick Reed was safely ensconced in the clubhouse with a 14-under par total following a Sunday 65, Herbert making four nerveless pars on his way to a final round of 2-under 69 for a one-stroke win and a maiden PGA Tour title.

On top of the winner’s cheque for $US1.17 million (approx. $A1.558m) the victory brings with it a number of perks, not the least of which is a guaranteed start at the 2022 Masters at Augusta National Golf Club next April.

“The next 12 months are going to be really cool,” said Herbert immediately following his win.

“I’ve never played Augusta, so being able to play the Masters is going to be pretty cool. “We just talked about Kapalua. Getting to play in a few of these events that I’ve watched growing up on TV, it’s just going to be a cool experience.

“No matter how I play, it’s just going to be phenomenal to play in those tournaments. It’s going to be lots of fun.

“The next few days we’ll sit back and think and celebrate and reset some plans going forward as to what our goals are going to be and how we want to play in some of these awesome tournaments that we’re going to get into.”

Two over through three holes on Thursday and with two missed cuts in his first two starts as a member of the PGA Tour, Herbert was facing the prospect of an early departure from Bermuda.

Such was Herbert’s recent malaise he flew coach Dominic Azzopardi out from Australia despite the uncertainty of the return leg, the pair making swing adjustments in the two weeks prior that the 25-year-old could trust under pressure and in the most extreme weather.

“I was taking the club back a long way inside, inside plane going back and from there it was very hard to match it up,” Herbert explained.

“I was kind of leaking the ball to the right or double crossing left, which is not a really good way to play golf.

“We just worked on that takeaway a lot. It’s a lot to work on because then it throws out a lot of your feels of how the ball’s going to launch. I just felt like I was going to hit a lot of shots left.

“To be honest, like Thursday and Friday this week I still didn’t 100 per cent trust it. It was really nice this weekend, it felt like everything was matching up. What I felt like I was making a move at, the ball felt like it was coming out exactly as I thought.

“My first two wins on the European Tour, Dom wasn’t here, so to experience a win with him here… For him to make that commitment to come out and help me out a lot with my golf swing… we hit a lot of balls over the last two or three weeks getting ready for this event.

“To have it pay off so quickly and to share that win with him, that was really special.”

Although the fifth-highest ranked player in the field, Herbert was playing on a category earned at the Korn Ferry Tour Finals, a category that makes it difficult to access the PGA Tour’s biggest events.

With a win that secures membership through until the end of the 2023-2024 season those restrictions have now been lifted, starts secured not only at The Masters but the 2022 US PGA Championship, The PLAYERS Championship, Arnold Palmer Invitational, Genesis Invitational, the Memorial Tournament and Sentry Tournament of Champions.

Herbert is also projected to rise to a career high of No.43 in the Official World Golf Rankings and becomes the first Australian male player since Adam Scott in 2008 to win individual titles on both the European Tour and PGA Tour in the same year having won the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open in July. Results PGA TOUR Butterfield Bermuda Championship Port Royal Golf Course, Southampton Parish, Bermuda Winner Lucas Herbert 70-65-65-69—269 $US1.17m T2 Danny Lee 67-67-65-71—270 $578,500 T39 Brett Drewitt 72-66-69-73—280 $25,675 T67 John Senden 72-70-72-73—287 $13,650 MC Cameron Percy 76-68—144 MC Greg Chalmers 72-73—145 Japan Golf Tour ISPS HANDA Gatsu-n to tobase Tour tournament Miho Golf Club, Ibaraki Winner Tomoyo Ikemura 68-66-68-65—267 ¥16m T42 Dylan Perry 72-70-72-68—282 ¥320,000 T45 Anthony Quayle 72-70-68-73—283 ¥245,942 T60 Todd Sinnott 68-73-72-74—287 ¥182,400 MC David Bransdon 73-80—151 Ladies European Tour Dubai Moonlight Classic Emirates Golf Club (Faldo Course), Dubai Winner Bronte Law 68-69-64—201 E36,735 T11 Stephanie Kyriacou 69-71-68—208 E5,363 T47 Whitney Hillier 73-72-75—220 E1,395

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