Herbert holds narrow lead over Day at Australian Open
Victorian Lucas Herbert has set up a Saturday tee time with World Number 12 Jason Day at The Australian.
Firing 5-under 66, Herbert found his way to the top of the leaderboard while a shot further back, after a round of 68, is Day who has some advice for the 21-year-old heading into the weekend.
“I don’t know too much about Lucas. I know that he’s a big boy, hits a nice strong ball flight. He’s obviously got a lot of game to be in the position that he’s at right now,” said Day.
“It’s just about just embracing it, because when you’re first starting out as a Professional, there’s nothing that can really get you ready to face these certain fears.”
“If he just embraces it, you never know, he may come out tomorrow and just absolutely shoot the lights out,” added Day.
“That’s one thing I will obviously have in the back of my mind when I’m playing against him tomorrow, I’m planning on him playing well.”
Lucas Herbert (Credit: Paul Lakatos)
Not one to be overawed, Herbert is happy with how his game is progressing after he was in this same position at Royal Sydney in 2016 following the first round of the Emirates Australian Open.
“Every time you’re near the lead you learn so much and it was good, more mentally than anything,” said Lucas.
“By Sunday afternoon I was wrecked because I was in the lead from nine holes in Thursday morning to Sunday afternoon. It takes so much out of you to be there. I learnt a lot from that.”
“That’s going to be a very positive experience for me going into this weekend with how to deal with it,” added Lucas, who made six birdies this morning but finished with a bogey after being forced to lay-up, a tactic foreign to his game, on the 18th hole.
“I’m definitely trying to be a smarter golfer, obviously chipping out on 18 there, that was pretty hard to do.”
“I don’t really take lay ups too easily, it’s hard to talk me into them but I managed to get talked into laying up there.”
Meanwhile Day is happy with his game heading into the weekend as he aims to win his first Stonehaven Cup and tournament of the year.
“I’m very pleased with how I played; I gave myself the opportunity again today, to make a lot of birdies. I was a little bit disappointed with how I finished, I was at 9-under going down to 17 in front position, going for the green, I had 125 yards I think to the pin and just hit a poor shot, which led to a bogey,” said Day.
“Those are the things that frustrate me the most because I’m in a good position with the way I’m hitting it and I end up making a bogey on the last hole.”
Sitting a shot further back on 7-under the card is New South Welshman Cameron Davis while Queenslander Anthony Quayle birdied his final hole to get to 6-under the card.
Rounding out the top-5 are Cameron Smith (QLD), Matt Jones (NSW), Nick Cullen (SA) and Richard Green (VIC).
Defending champion Jordan Spieth had an even par round and is tied 19th heading into the weekend.
“Given the golf course will start to bake out and you get really calm conditions in the morning that leaves the windier conditions for the afternoon,” said Spieth.
“I’ll have a pretty gettable golf course I imagine in the morning tomorrow with the guys really having to watch themselves in the afternoon.
“If I can post something like 5, 6-under, then I’m very much in this tournament.”
Day certainly isn’t counting Spieth out of the tournament and will be watching out for him on the weekend.
“If he gets something going on the weekend he can hole a lot of putts and make a lot of birdies and make a charge; and usually he does make a charge on the weekend, so I wouldn’t be surprised,” added Day.
“Seven strokes is obviously not enough but I’d like to keep pushing forward and hopefully I don’t see him in my rear view mirror at all.”
The second round cut was made at 2-over the card with 63 Professionals and five amateurs making the weekend rounds.
Source – PGA Australia