31 Jan 2023 | Professional golf |

Aussies On Tour - Good signs for Herbert in Dubai

by Australian Golf Media

Lucas Herbert Dubai image
Lucas Herbert on his way to third on the DP World Tour in Dubai on Monday. Photo: Getty

By Tony Webeck

He was unable to rein in world No.1 Rory McIlroy yet Lucas Herbert left Dubai encouraged by what 2023 may hold.

In a DP World Tour Hero Dubai Desert Classic pushed into a Monday finish due to rare rain on Thursday, Herbert’s final round of six-under 66 was behind only Henrik Stenson (64) and runner-up Patrick Reed (65) as the best of the final round.

It elevated him to outright third and a first cheque for 2023 of €521,639.43 ($A802,150.36).

Given the work he and coach Dom Azzopardi have done over the Australian summer, it is a strong foundation that he knows he can build on in the months ahead.

“It’s promising signs,” said the 27-year-old.

“It still feels like there’s some work to do and I can get better than what I produced this week, so that’s exciting.

“To finish third here in this quality field, I think it’s good signs ahead for 2023.”

Trailing McIlroy (68) by five strokes at the start of play, Herbert was the first in the clubhouse at 16-under.

He had birdie opportunities from 35, 13 and 46 feet at holes 14, 15 and 16 that he was unable to convert before closing with birdies at 17 and 18 to give McIlroy and Reed the score to beat.

Reed followed him in with an 18-under total before McIlroy, who flirted with the water with his tee shot, holed a clutch putt from 14 feet for a birdie of his own at the 72nd hole.

“I felt like we were probably almost playing for second going into the day,” conceded Herbert, who will tee it up in this week’s PIF Saudi International on the Asian Tour.

“It’s pretty hard to spot Rory five shots and try and chase him down to win a tournament.

“Felt like if I could finish second or third, it would be a really good day. Sort of emerged from that pack at 12, 11, 10-under, those sort of guys.

“To emerge from that and finish (third), really pleased with that start to the year.”

As a result of his finish Herbert moved from 67th to 53rd in the Official World Golf Ranking as Min Woo Lee moved up one spot to 49th with his tie for 11th.

Jason Day is back inside the top 100 for the first time in almost a year following his tie for seventh at the Farmers Insurance Open, moving up to 92nd from 104th on the back of his second top-10 finish of the PGA TOUR season. Results

DP World Tour

Hero Dubai Desert Classic Emirates Golf Club, Dubai, UAE 1 Rory McIlroy 66-70-65-68—269 €1,407,598.47 T3 Lucas Herbert 69-67-70-66—272 €521,639.43 T13 Min Woo Lee 73-65-71-68—277 €127,235.86 T20 Ryan Fox 69-71-66-73—279 €91,198.19 T59 Jason Scrivener 71-71-72-69—283 €23,597.97 MC Daniel Hillier 71-71-73—215 PGA TOUR

Farmers Insurance Open Torrey Pines Golf Course, San Diego, California 1 Max Homa 68-70-71-66—275 $US1.566m T7 Jason Day 68-71-73-68—280 $282,750 MC Aaron Baddeley 71-74—145 MC Cameron Percy 75-72—147 MC Harrison Endycott 70-80—150 MC Cam Davis 79-76—155 Korn Ferry Tour

The Bahamas Great Abaco Classic at The Abaco Club The Abaco Club on Winding Bay, Great Abaco, Bahamas 1 Ben Silverman 71-65-67-70—273 $US180,000 Won on the first hole of sudden death playoff T27 Curtis Luck 70-72-68-72—282 $7,300 MC Brett Drewitt 73-73—146 MC Rhein Gibson 76-73—149

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