24 Mar 2022 | Professional golf |

Herbert's boilover, Scott scrapes through at WGC Match Play

by PGA of Australia

Lucas Herbert knocked off Tony Finau on the opening day of the WGC Match Play.

By Tony Webeck

Lucas Herbert has set up a blockbuster second round match with world No.9 Xander Schauffele after closing out American Ryder Cup star Tony Finau in Round 1 of the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play in Austin, Texas.

Herbert and Adam Scott both registered first-up wins at a blustery Austin Country Club to enhance their chances of advancing from the group stages while Marc Leishman and Min Woo Lee both went down in convincing fashion to Kevin Kisner and defending champion Billy Horschel respectively.

After narrowly missing out on the field of 64 as an alternate a year ago, Herbert called upon his experiences playing pennants for Commonwealth Golf Club to have Finau on the back foot from the start.

The No.39 seed began with three straight birdies and was 2-up through five before Finau came roaring back into the contest to square the match through seven holes.

Finau’s bogey at the subsequent hole gave Herbert the edge again and he never looked back, birdies at 10, 12 and 15 paving the way for a 4&3 victory on debut.

“I got off to a hot start there which was good to put the pressure on early,” Herbert said.

“I hit a couple of bad shots that I got a little lucky with and Tony hit a couple bad shots and just got punished. Unfortunately that was the story of the day.

“We played a lot of match play in Australia growing up, whether it be playing golf in Melbourne for Commonwealth or whether it was amateur events where we were getting into match play format or we played Interstate Series games, as well.

“We did play a lot of match play as juniors. It’s just quite a different format.”

Old friends Adam Scott and Justin Rose failed to produce anywhere near the type of golf that made them both Major champions yet it was an absorbing contest punctuated by an extraordinary finish.

Scott went 1-up with a win on the opening hole but found himself 2-down after seven. Back-to-back bogeys from Rose meant the veterans were tied at the turn and they traded bad shots until Scott fashioned a 2-up lead with birdie on the 15th.

Just as he appeared set for victory, Scott went out-of-bounds on the 16th to give the Englishman hope, and Rose then produced an incredible par-save chip-in from the canyon on the penultimate hole to take the match down the 18th. A shaky par from Scott on the finisher was enough to take the match.

“It was a real pillow fight,” was Scott’s summation, who will meet Keegan Bradley in Round 2 following Bradley’s loss to Jordan Spieth. “We gave each other a lot of holes, certainly nothing for me to brag about.

“We’ve played a lot of golf with each other over the years and we certainly didn’t have our best stuff today, but obviously I’m happy to squeak out a point and kind of keep my hopes alive for the next couple of days.”

Round 1 results Lucas Herbert def. Tony Finau 4&3 Adam Scott def. Justin Rose 2-up Kevin Kisner def. Marc Leishman 4&3 Billy Horschel def. Min Woo Lee 3&2

Round 2 matches 1.42am Lucas Herbert v Xander Schauffele 2.59am Min Woo Lee v Thomas Pieters 5.55am Adam Scott v Keegan Bradley                                6.06am Marc Leishman v Justin Thomas

Round 3 matches (times TBA) Min Woo Lee v Tom Hoge Adam Scott v Jordan Spieth Marc Leishman v Luke List Lucas Herbert v Takumi Kanaya

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