Golf: Australian Herbert claims two-shot lead in Portugal

Herbert (above, in a file photo) rolled in eight birdies in Vilamoura to reach 19-under for the tournament.
Herbert (above, in a file photo) rolled in eight birdies in Vilamoura to reach 19-under for the tournament.PHOTO: REUTERS

VILAMOURA, Portugal (AFP) - Australian Lucas Herbert will take a two-shot lead into the final round of the Portugal Masters after firing a seven-under-par 64 on Saturday (Sept 22), as Sergio Garcia showed signs of form ahead of the Ryder Cup.

Herbert, who is ranked 158 in the world, rolled in eight birdies in Vilamoura to reach 19-under for the tournament.

The 22-year-old is playing on sponsors' invites this season, but is now set to secure a European Tour card for 2019, having already notched four top-10 finishes this year.

"I think this week is as close to the A-game as we get," he told europeantour.com.

"Some good confidence going into tomorrow and hopefully that form sticks around. (I'm) in the position I want to be in so not much more we can do."

England's Tom Lewis, who had looked set to miss the cut after the opening round, moved into second-place with a magnificent 10-under 61.

Eddie Pepperell continued his strong form and is only four shots off the lead, tied for third with Swede Marcus Kinhult, while Friday's star Oliver Fisher sits a stroke further adrift after following up his record-breaking 59 with a 69.

Former Masters champion Garcia, playing the tournament in a bid to find form before next week's Ryder Cup, managed four birdies, including one on the 18th, to sign for a 68 and a nine-under total, one ahead of his Europe teammate Thorbjorn Olesen.