06 Jun 2021 | Professional golf |

Herbert firing but Rahm suffers cruel test

by Martin Blake

Lucas Herbert Memorial image
Lucas Herbert is enjoying his time at the Memorial in Ohio. Photo: Getty

Lucas Herbert is on track for his best finish in a US PGA Tour event but the sudden withdrawal of runaway leader Jon Rahm took the headlines at the Memorial Tournament in Ohio today.

Rahm was the six-shot leader when he completed his third round, but he was informed as he finished that he had tested positive to the Covid-19 virus and immediately withdrew.

A string of big-name tour players, including Australia's Adam Scott, Spaniard Sergio Garcia and world No. 1 Dustin Johnson, have tested positive to Covid in the past 12 months, but the tour has managed to continue its schedule. Whether it can play out the Memorial tomorrow, given that Rahm has spent three days at the venue, remains to be seen.

Herbert, who is playing on sponsor's invitations in America and attempting to force his way on to the tour for next season, is doing a decent job of it. Despite a double bogey at the 17th after he hit his second shot into water, the Australian shot a 71 to be tied-sixth at five under par overall.

He is seven shots behind the leaders, Patrick Cantlay and Collin Morikawa.

Herbert would need to log the equivalent Fedex Cup points as the 125th-ranked player on tour this year to get a card, as Cameron Smith managed to do a few years ago.

In any case he has moved to America and would have the option of the Korn Ferry Tour with its tickets to the main tour.

Adam Scott has also shown some decent form at Jack Nicklaus' course and he is tied-15th through three rounds.

Rahm's story is captivating. The world No. 3 was under tour contact-tracing protocols for the past week because he had come into close contact with a person who had the virus, but he tested negative each day and under the regulations, had limited access to the clubhouse and fitness facilities. Then his test taken after the second round came back positive. He was 18 under for the tournament, had just shot 64, and he buried his head in his hands when the news was delivered.

Rahm will now be required to isolate for 14 days.

ROD Pampling has a chance for his first win on the Champions Tour tomorrow. The Queenslander is at 10 under par in the Principal Charity Classic in Iowa, tied-second and four shots from the lead.


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