NAILED IT: Lucas Herbert launches his approach shot to the par-five 16th at the Australian Open. Picture: GETTY IMAGESLucas Herbert continued his strong recent form when he fired a five-under par 67 to share the lead after day one of the Australian Open in Sydney.
Herbert’s bogey-free 67 at Royal Sydney was his seventh sub-70 round in his past nine tournament rounds, incorporating his second place at the Queensland Open and eighth place at the New South Wales Open.
Herbert, 20, and amateur star Curtis Luck, two of Australia’s brightest talents,took the honours on day one. Major drawcards Jordan Speith and Adam Scott are two and five shots respectively behind the leading trio.
Herbert wasn’t in the original field for the Open, but was given a late invitation by last weekend by Golf Australia.
He grabbed the opportunity with both hands.
Herbert started his round with six-straight pars before back-to-back birdies on the seventh and eighth holes gave him some momentum.
Another birdie on the par-four 10th lifted Herbert to three-under par. He followed up with birdies on the par-five 13th and 16th to move to the top of the leaderboard.
Herbert looked set to fire a six-under par 66 when he played a superb second shot to the par-four 18th. However, he missed the short birdie putt and had to settle for a 67.
“Really happy with that start,’’ Herbert said.
“There was a score out there this morning with the greens rolling really good and not alot of wind around.
“I was happy to start that way, but unfortunately I missed that short putt on the last. I’m in a good position going into the week.”
Herbert said the key to his round was staying patient.
“I couldn’t get the putter going early, I had a few good looks, but I couldn’t get them todrop,’’ Herbert said.
“It was just about staying patient. I knew that in 2013 Scotty (Adam Scott) made all his birdies between the sixth and 15th. I knew if I stayed patient that I had a good stretch of holes in the middle of the round.”
Herbert led a mixed start for Bendigo’s golfers at the Open.
Andrew Martin had a two-under par 70 to be tied 16th, Bendigo-born, Lismore-raised Rhein Gibson fired a one-under par 71 andKris Mueck signed for a two-over par 74.
Mueck’s round was ruined by a double-bogey six on his final hole –the par-four ninth.
Martin’s round was made up of seven birdies, five bogeys and six pars.
The former Australian Amateur champion held his round together well after going out in the second-last group of the day.
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