22 May 2022 | Professional golf |

Herbert primed for Sunday charge

by PGA of Australia

Lucas Herbert PGA image
Lucas Herbert on his way to a 68 at Southern Hills today. Photo: Getty

By Tony Webeck

Victorian Lucas Herbert insists he is physically and mentally ready to make a Sunday charge after playing his way into contention in Round 3 of the US PGA Championship at Southern Hills Country Club.

On a day in which only 12 players broke 70, Herbert’s two-under 68 catapulted him 20 spots up the leaderboard into a tie for 10th heading into the final round, eight shots back of leader Mito Pereira (69) who has a three-shot buffer from Englishman Matthew Fitzpatrick (67) and American Will Zalatoris (73).

Cameron Smith struggled to a three-over 73 to drop into a tie for 23rd with Jason Day (72), Cam Davis (72) and Marc Leishman (73) all making minor moves, Davis bolstered by a hole-out eagle at the par-5 13th hole.

In-form Kiwi Ryan Fox shot his third consecutive round of even-par 70 to earn a share of 17th with one round to play but it is Herbert who is the most likely to make the Australasian presence known in Oklahoma.

As the challenge of Southern Hills and the Tulsa winds begin to beat down the game’s best players, Herbert remains fresh and ready to fire.

The 26-year-old hasn’t played a tournament since missing the cut at his debut at The Masters last month and it may prove prudent if he can further advance his position in the final round.

“I’ve had three weeks off leading up to the event so I’m relatively fresh compared to the guys who have played more in the last couple of weeks,” said Herbert, whose best finish in a major to date is a tie for 31st at the 2020 US Open.

“I’ve been pretty good all week, just keeping my body pretty fresh for the challenge of this week.

“Try to store up all the energy I can.”

Herbert began a positive moving day by converting a birdie opportunity from just inside eight feet at the par-4 third but struck trouble at the 224-yard par-3 eighth, unable to keep his bunker shot on the green on his way to a bogey four.

A 334-yard tee shot at the par-4 12th set up a birdie from 10 feet and Herbert made it three for the day when he rolled in a bomb from 44 feet at the par-4 14th.

A par putt from 11 feet slid by the hole on 16 but he bounced back quickly when he drove it into the greenside bunker at the 296-yard par-4 17th and made his birdie putt from just outside three feet.

“There’s definitely opportunities out there to score,” said Herbert.

“It’s one of those golf courses you don’t have to miss by much and all of a sudden you’re struggling to make bogey pretty quick.

“It’s tricky out there for sure. The wind is swirling around and making it tough. But if you do hit the right shots, I think there is a score out there.”

After making the cut on the number Webb Simpson was the big mover on Saturday, his five-under 65 elevating him into a share of 10th as Tiger Woods struggled to a nine-over 79, his worst career round in the US PGA Championship. Woods subsequently withdrew from the final round of the championship, the first time he has withdrawn from a major since turning professional. US PGA Championship Round 3

1 Mito Pereira -9 (69) T10 Lucas Herbert -1 (68) T17 Ryan Fox E (70) T23 Cameron Smith +1 (73) T45 Jason Day +5 (72) T55 Cam Davis +6 (72) T55 Marc Leishman +6 (73)

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