31 Oct 2021 | Professional golf |
Herbert chases first US Tour win
by PGA of Australia
By Tony Webeck
Wind, rain and a runaway leader is all that stands between Lucas Herbert and a rare slice of history at the PGA Tour’s Butterfield Bermuda Championship at Port Royal Golf Course.
After a second straight round of 6-under 65 Herbert will begin the final round in third position and four strokes behind Canadian big-hitter Taylor Pendrith, who put an exclamation point on his third round of 65 with a birdie from long range at the par-3 16th, the toughest hole on the golf course.
Kiwi Danny Lee – whose last top-10 finish pre-dated the COVID-19 pandemic at the Arnold Palmer Invitational in March 2020 – is in out right second at 14-under, one shot to the better of Herbert with 18 holes to play.
Not since Adam Scott won the Qatar Masters and Byron Nelson Invitational in 2008 has an Australian male player won individual titles on both the European Tour and PGA Tour in the same year, Herbert now within reach of a feat only few Australians have achieved. (Cameron Smith won the two-man Zurich Classic and co-sanctioned Australian PGA Championship in 2017.)
Such is the forecast for Sunday that the PGA Tour has moved up the final round tee times as early as possible and will have groups teeing off from both the first and 10th tees, Herbert to commence his final round at 10.57pm AEDT alongside Pendrith and Lee.
Winner of the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open in July, Herbert knows it may take some help from Pendrith in order to reel him in but is ready to use the challenging conditions to his favour. “The harder it is, the better,” said Herbert.
“I've always enjoyed a good test of golf and if the conditions make it tough tomorrow that could make it a bit of fun.
“It might require some chasing down or a little bit of help from Taylor to come back if the conditions are going to be kind of pretty average.”
Four birdies in the space of five holes around the turn provided the backbone of Herbert’s round, the biggest drama coming just minutes before he was due to tee off.
Working on hitting some low drives on the range Herbert noticed that two in a row “felt weird” and after a quick inspection rushed back to the locker room.
“With probably 12 minutes until we teed off it was back to the locker, get a new driver head,” Herbert explained.
“Luckily, we had spares in the locker room. Had to run with that on the fly but it turned out all right.”
In just his third start as a member of the PGA Tour Herbert enters Sunday with the knowledge and confidence that comes from winning twice in Europe the past two years and in different circumstances.
“It's definitely a big thing to have won before and know what it takes to win,” said the 25-year-old.
“I've kind of done it from both scenarios. I've been a few shots back going into the final round and I've led going into the final round.
“I feel I've got some experience there but Taylor's a great player and there are some good names that are going to be right there.
“Experience is going to be good, but I'm going to have to play really well to beat them as well.”
A third round of 2-under 69 saw New South Welshman Brett Drewitt fall into a tie for 32nd with one round to play while veteran John Senden (72) is in a share of 71st position.
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