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Agony And Ecstasy For Herbert In Portugal

Mixed feelings for Lucas Herbert after close call in Portugal secures 2019 playing rights (Photo: Henry Peters)
Rising star Lucas Herbert left Portugal with mixed feelings overnight after coming agonisingly close to a maiden professional win but securing a bigger victory in terms of his career by wrapping up his 2019 European Tour card.

Herbert started the final round with a two-shot lead over England’s Tom Lewis thanks to some stunning golf over the opening three days but struggled with his swing from the outset.

Gritty golf kept him in the tournament till the end but events on the final two holes conspired to see him share second alongside Eddie Pepperell with Lewis claiming a three-shot win that was closer than the final scoreline suggested.

In the bigger scheme of things, however, it was a golden day for Herbert who started the year with no status on any Tour outside Australia and now holds cards in China, Canada and Europe.

His runner-up finish saw him vault to 64thon the Race to Dubai standings and guaranteed of playing full time in 2019.

“The goal at the start of the year was to get a main Tour card and we’ve done that, so that’s a pretty good feeling,” he said after the round.
“Moving up the World Rankings is obviously the goal. Give myself the best chance by the end of next year to make the Presidents Cup team.

“If I can keep doing this I’m not going too far wrong I hope.”

Finding the positives would have been difficult for Herbert in the immediate aftermath of the round after he stood on the 17thtee one behind and watched as Lewis found water off the tee.

With a two shot swing a real possibility Herbert left the green deflated after he could do no better than par and Lewis matched his effort with an unlikely 35-foot putt.

Still only one behind with one to play Herbert sealed his own fate with a water ball of his own off the 18thtee which resulted in a double bogey.

“It kind of feels like all of the air has come out of me,” he said of the way the round finished.

 “It was looking like it could have been a two-shot swing on 17 and then Tom goes and holes that putt and I hit a horrible tee-shot down the 18th.

“I can’t be too critical of myself and I have to try to take the positives at the moment even though it’s not ideal not winning after carrying a lead into the last round.”

He said while the result stung in the short term there were many positives to be taken in the bigger picture.

“If I keep putting myself here enough times, surely one of them has to work out?” he asked rhetorically.

"It’s hard with golf, you don’t win very often. It’s pretty clichéd but you have to try to take the positives.

“I played three really good rounds under pressure when I needed to to get my card, so I’ll try to think about that when I look back at this week.”
Also playing well enough to likely secure playing rights for next season was Jason Scrivener who moved inside the top 100 on the Race to Dubai rankings with a T12 result.

The top 110 retain playing rights for 2019 and Scrivener began the week 111th but has now moved to 99th.

New Zealand’s Ryan Fox was next best of the Australasians at T27, Jason Norris and another New Zealander, Josh Geary, T56.



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