Herbert’s third round of 64 moved him two clear of England’s Tom Lewis and three ahead of Eddie Pepperell and Sweden’s Marcus Kinhult.
An outward nine of 30 today over the Dom Pedro Victoria Course Vilamoura set up the lead and although the momentum slowed a little over his closing nine he continues to impress as he chases European Tour status for next season.
Herbert is currently 103rd on the European Tour money list although that will improve a few places as those not fully eligible through a lack of event numbers are taken out of the list.
He has played several events on invite this season but with three top tens and several other good finishes he has gradually worked his way up the Race to Dubai money list and is on the brink of a career changing milestone.
The 22-year old needs to be inside the top 110 to earn the right to play the European Tour so a good day tomorrow will well and truly put that to bed and, perhaps, provide his first win on a recognised tour in professional golf.
“I think this week is as close to the A game as we get," said a confident Herbert. "Some good confidence going into tomorrow that hopefully that form sticks around. I’m in the position I want to be in, so there’s not much more we can do.
“I'll probably go and work on a couple of things with the iron play. At the moment it doesn't quite feel right. The good thing was I was able to manage it. If I hit bad shots I tended to miss them in the right spots, which was quite pleasing. It made it pretty easy to keep the bogeys off the card.
“I just need to get out of my own way tomorrow to be honest. I've played really good up until this point. I don't really need to do anything different or special. Just stick to the processes, keep picking the right shots and doing a good job with all of that. That's all I can control.”
West Australian, Jason Scrivener, is also in a race for the right to play the European Tour with full status in 2019, the current NSW Open Champion in 111th position in the Race to Dubai but like Herbert he is putting his best foot forward this week.
Scrivener is in a share of 10th place this week and poised, it would seem, to enhance the chances of regaining his card at season’s end.
New Zealander Ryan Fox had 64 today to improve to 15th, his fellow New Zealander Josh Geary is 45th and Jason Norris 61st.
RULES DROPPED BALL COMES TO REST
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