Date: November 23, 2014
Author: Martin Blake /

Herbert announces himself at Metro

Lucas Herbert had a share of the lead when he birdied the fourth hole at Metropolitan in the BetEasy Masters today, and a legion of Australian golf fans were trying to figure out who the skinny kid with the baby-faced looks might be.

Herbert, 18, was in position to become the first amateur in history to win the Australian Masters. And while he faded through the middle part of his round, he has announced himself as a big-time player with his weekend performance, which included a superb 65 on Saturday.

The boy from Bendigo, who plays out of Commonwealth Golf Club in Melbourne and is part of Golf Australia's national squad, had a sour double-bogey finish at the 18th to ponder tonight.

Walking up the 18th he was tied-fifth in the tournament; by the time he drove into the trees down the left, chipped out then three-putted, he was just outside the top 10, narrowly missing on the guarantee of a spot in the Emirates Australian Open field next week.

But Herbert is a name to remember. "It was disappointing to finish with a double,'' he said. "I held myself up well all day, in these conditions, so that's disappointing but I'm still happy with how I played overall.''

The Victorian, who was second in the individual section of the prestigious Eisenhower Trophy in Japan earlier this year, heads to Sydney tomorrow to pre-qualify for the Emirates Australian Open at The Australian.

His head was still spinning as he walked off the 18th today, having held a share of the lead through a few holes on the front nine today. He came unstuck from the par-five eighth, where he needed just seven iron to reach the green in two with the help of a nice south-easterly breeze, but missed the green to the right and failed to get up and down from the swale beside the putting surface.

It was a missed opportunity, then at the par-four ninth, he hit a shy approach to the front of the green and three-putted for another bogey. A third shot given back in four holes, when he bogeyed the 10th, put him out of the running.

"I had a bit of an idea I was around the lead, but there was so far to go, and so much can happen,'' he said. "It wasn't the end there, so I didn't feel too nervous out there to be honest. I handled myself well, which I was pretty proud of. I felt like I was supposed to be there, I was holding my own.''

Herbert finished tied-11th at five-under par after closing with a 73, and had to be content with the honor of being the leading amateur.

Two other members of Golf Australia's national squad, Ryan Ruffels and Todd Sinnett, both closed with three-under par 69s to finish tied-17th.

"It’s promising for us all,'' said Ruffels. "Always in these pro events as amateurs, if one of us can’t win we always root for the others. Todd’s had a good week, Lucas obviously had a great week. I learnt a lot this week and we’ll all be better off for the experience. Regardless fo where you finish. Every time you go through this process, we all come out stronger players.''