'Struggling' Herbert wins with a little help

MIAMI • Lucas Herbert's decision to bring his coach across to Bermuda to help work on his swing proved a masterstroke at the weekend when the Australian secured his maiden PGA Tour title at the Bermuda Championship.

The 25-year-old, who won the Irish Open in July to add to his previous European Tour win at the Dubai Desert Classic, became the first Australian man since Adam Scott in 2008 to win titles on the world's two biggest professional golf tours in the same season.

He fired a two-under 69 in windy and rainy conditions, finishing 72 holes on 15-under 269, defeating 2018 Masters winner, American Patrick Reed (65), and New Zealand's Danny Lee (71) by a shot to capture the title by one stroke on Sunday.

Along with a cheque for US$1.17 million (S$1.58 million), 500 Fedex Cup points and a two-year PGA Tour exemption, the victory earned him tickets to next year's Masters and Tournament of Champions in Hawaii. He also rose from 57th to 43rd in the rankings.

"The next 12 months are going to be really cool. I've never played Augusta, so being able to play the Masters is going to be pretty cool," he said after his victory at Port Royal in Southampton, Bermuda.

"Getting to play in a few of these events that I've watched growing up on TV, it's just going to be a cool experience.

"No matter how I play, it's just going to be phenomenal to play in those tournaments."

Getting coaching help to prepare for the tournament was by no means straightforward as border controls in place when his coach Dom Azzopardi left Australia meant there was no guarantee he would be able to get back into the country.

"My game was really, really struggling and I decided to call in and get him out over here," Herbert added. "At the time, it looked a bit dicey trying to get him back into Australia ... so for him to make that commitment to come out and help me out a lot with my golf swing ... to have it pay off so quickly and to share that win with him, that was really special."

Herbert, whose first title came on his 19th PGA Tour start, was reluctant to talk about his expectations for the future.

"Too easy when you win to think you're never going to not win again," he said. "So I think the next few days we'll sit back and think and celebrate and then reset some plans going forward.

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    World ranking of Australia's Lucas Herbert when he won the Bermuda Championship, his first PGA Tour title.

"It was pretty tough out there. It was a day where even par would be a good score. I felt like I grinded really hard out there. You hit really good putts and couldn't get rewarded... they finally came for me."

Herbert's best prior PGA Tour finish had been a share of 18th at Memorial earlier this year.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 02, 2021, with the headline ''Struggling' Herbert wins with a little help'. Subscribe