Date: November 22, 2014
Author: Mark Hayes /

Herbert’s record round for his ‘homies’

Lucas Herbert has fired a handful of scores better than his Metropolitan course-record 65 today.

But never have they meant more, especially in front of a horde of family and friends from Bendigo and his two “home” clubs, Neangar Park and Commonwealth.

Herbert, making the most of the calmer early conditions, giving himself an extra “three hours sleep” by booking a berth in the second last group in the final round of the Australian Masters at six under, just two off the lead.

And the Golf Australia national squad member did so with some of the most impeccable golf seen at the famous track since Peter Lonard’s magical 63 in the 1997 Australian Open, the course record before the revised layout.

He opened with a bogey, but poured in a breathtaking eight birdies in 10 holes from the 3rd to the 12th to surge into contention.

Another birdie on the short par-four 16th gave visions of a 64, but a long-range three-putt bogey on 17 – his only such mistake in three rounds – curtailed those before a grand scrambling par on the last to calm his nerves.

He used a visit to his entourage in a break in play on the 17th, almost to prove to them that he was still human as the crowd swelled around him.

“I try to treat it like I'm hanging out with some friends.  Keeps my nerves down.  Keeps my mood sort of casual, I guess,” Herbert said.

“I try not to get too intense out there.  That's when I play my best golf is when I'm casual with friends and it was great I had my family out there to watch that.

“I felt like I did them pretty proud today,” he said with enormous understatement before admitting is was the best he’d played in a pro event with his family in the gallery.

“I just tried to make sure they were not as nervous as what I was. They were trying to say, keep it going, but I said, `You don't have to tell me what to do too much, I've kind of got this one under control’.”

Herbert hugged his “great parents” after the round, then turned his attention to the rapidly emerging band of Golf Australia amateurs in the national squad, particularly the Victorian contingent with whom he’s so close.

Herbert spoke glowingly of the bond; about how they communicate their delight in each other’s good scores.

And he hoped the financial aspect of those relationships wouldn’t change when they eventually turned professional.

“We all love seeing everyone else play well.  We're obviously not stealing each other's money because we are all amateurs,” he joked.

Of his young mates left in the field, Ryan Ruffels shot an even-par 72 today to remain one under, while Metro’s Todd Sinnott battled for the first time this week, firing a 77 to fall from near the top of the leaderboard to one under despite a gallant 36 on the back nine in the worst of the conditions.