LUCAS Herbert’s career year has soared to new heights, with the Bendigo golfer to line up in next week’s US Open.
Having last year qualified for the British Open, Herbert dominated sectional qualifying on Tuesday (Australian time) to book his place in the field at Long Island’s Shinnecock Hills.
Herbert had to play his way into the event in a gruelling 12 hours of golf that saw he and his competitors play 36 holes in a single day at Portland Gold Club in the United States.
Of the 81 players who lined up at Portland, the top four would qualify.
Not only did Herbert qualify, he followed his opening round of 66 shot a blistering second-round 64 including two eagles to win the sectional event by three shots.
The 22-year-old Neangar Park junior graduate told Golf Australia’s Inside the Ropes podcast this week that he had no expectations of qualifying when he was heading to Oregon.
“I found something on the range, where I thought ‘maybe that’ll work’. I kind of trusted it,” he said.
“I was running three or four swing thoughts which my mental coach Jamie (Glazier) would probably not recommend. It was one of those days, every time you hit one near a bunker it seemed to kick away from it.”
Herbert’s year was kick-started by a strong finish to 2017, finishing sixth at the Australian Open before placing seventh at the Australian PGA on the Gold Coast.
He followed that with a third-place finish at the ISPA Handa Super 8 in Perth in February, and also placed third at the Scilian Open last month.
The ever-confident Herbert isn’t limiting his aims for his major debut and is determined to make it deep into the weekend.
“To qualify for the US Open is cool, but it doesn’t really do that much,” he said.
“If I go and miss the cut I’ll say ‘that’s a cool experience but it’s not done anything for me’. We definitely need to take this opportunity, take advantage of this, play my best golf at Shinnecock.
“If I can go low and get myself up there on the weekend and get amongst it, that would be the best thing that could happen from it.”
Herbert joins former world number one Jason Day, Marc Leishman, Cameron Smith, US Masters winner Adam Scott, Matt Jones, Aaron Baddeley, David Bransdon and Jason Scrivener in the field at Shinnecock Hills.
The US Open begins on Thursday, June 14 and finishes in the early hours of Monday, June 18 (Australian time).
Herbert will play the British Open at Carnoustie in July.
– Joel Peterson