Lucas Herbert is chasing a European Tour card for next season and he is going about it in the best way.
The 22-year-old Australian leads the Portugal Masters after a dazzling opening-round 63, putting himself in prime position to secure his card.
With strong performances in several European events this season, including the Nordea Masters, the Perth Super Six, the Sicilian Open and the Fiji International, the former national amateur team member has earned enough money (327,000 Euro) to be close to becoming a full tour member.
Playing on invitation in Vilamoura this week, Herbert needs just one more good performance to be safe, and he equalled the lowest round of his European Tour career to take a one-shot lead at Dom Pedro Victoria course.
English duo Eddie Pepperell and Matt Wallace had set the target at seven-under in the morning after rounds of 64 and it looked for a long time that they would not be caught.
Herbert began the week 103rd on the Race to Dubai rankings, needing to be inside the top 110 to secure a card.
“There's a lot of pressure coming into this time of the year,” he said. “Most of the other guys will probably get more starts than me to finish off the year so there's probably a bit of pressure on me to play well.
“I think I've had that pressure all year and I've dealt with it pretty well. Obviously today was a good indication that it's going alright so hopefully I can just continue that form. I've probably not played that great and still kept some consistent form, I think that's the biggest takeaway. I've actually played some good golf today and reaped the benefits.”