20 Jul 2023 | Professional golf |

'Little Eye' a big problem for Herbert

by Golf Australia

Lucas Herbert tees off
Lucas Herbert during the opening round of the 2023 Open Championship

Royal Liverpool’s newest addition proved to be its biggest first-round obstacle for Lucas Herbert who came to the hole known as “Little Eye” as the early joint Open Championship leader before leaving as its first big victim.

After an eagle at the par-five 15th and a great sand save for par a hole later, Herbert arrived at the 17th hole, just under 120 metres long but with a devilish small green surrounded by danger, at 3 under par.

He dragged his tee shot left, into the light rough, but worse was to come when his chip raced across the putting surface into a deep revetted bunker.

Shot number three from a tough lie, standing with one foot out of the bunker, left the Victorian still in the sand after it failed to climb the steep slope to the green and he ended making a triple-bogey six.

From tied for first, Herbert dropped out of the top 15 and eventually signed for an even-par 72.

But far from being downcast after his sour finish, the winner on the DP World Tour in Japan earlier this year said: “I’m not mad about it at all”.

“I didn’t think I did a lot wrong on 17 to make six,” Herbert said.

“If you’d given me even-par at the start of the day, I would’ve taken it. I didn’t think it was super easy out there.

“I’m not mad about it all. Obviously I would like to change 17 but I felt I maybe hit a poor chip shot and that was about it.

“I don’t think I’ll be the only one to run up a big score there.

“I think it’s a great hole. It’s a very tricky shot and there’s not really a good miss. It’s just not easy.”

Playing in the third group of the day, Herbert had three birdies on the front nine to turn in 33 before a bogey came at the long par-four 10th ahead of the big momentum swings on 15 and 17.

Playing partner Ryan Fox was 2 under through five before struggling home to a 79.

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