Australia’s rising star Lucas Herbert is back on home soil after a busy start to the year to play back-to-back events on the ISPS HANDA Tour of Australasia.
Returning for the Tour’s opening event, the ISPS HANDA Vic Open, a busy schedule and a string of strong results in 2018 has allowed the World Number 75 to return home ahead of a packed 2019 schedule.
“The last four months have been pretty flat out really, to be honest,” said Herbert.
“I was just sort of travelling around the world wherever I could get a start and get into a tournament.
“This year I can sort of play a bit more of a schedule that I can pick and I can obviously come back and play like this, the Vic Open and next week in Perth and play more golf in Australia, which is what we always like to do, us Australian golfers.”
Teeing off alongside international stars Andrew ‘Beef’ Johnston from England and Ryo Ishikawa from Japan in the first round at 13th Beach, the Melbourne-local believes he has what it takes to challenge the front-runners at this year’s tournament.
“I nearly won in 2017, just finished off badly in the last four holes,” said Herbert, who tied for sixth place in his last appearance.
“Other than that, I was right there and probably had a really good chance to win realistically.
“I think back to then, I was a pretty different golfer, I think.
“I’ve made a lot of big changes and big steps since then, but then obviously the event has grown as well.
“Being a European Tour event now, we've got some pretty good players here this week.”
Herbert joins a field of ISPS HANDA PGA Tour of Australasia and European Tour players at the ISPS HANDA Vic Open where the men will also play alongside the women from the LPGA Tour and ALPG Tour.
“It's good obviously to get the LPGA Tour involved as well as the European Tour,” continued Herbert.
“Shows how big the event's gotten… so it’s good coming back here.
“It's great to see it get this big and see the progression of it [with] obviously bigger, better names coming out every year.
Looking forward to embracing the relaxed atmosphere at the Vic Open, the likeable golfer believes the no-ropes format out on the course will favour the new generation of players.
“The tournament sort of suits a younger generation now, I guess, which there seems to be a lot of out here,” he said.
“I don't know that having no ropes up is going to have a five‑shot difference from someone who prefers it to someone who doesn't.
“I think it might keep you relaxed enough that it saves a shot here and there.
“I don't know that it's going to suit me any more specifically than it will the younger playing group that are out here playing on tour.”
Despite the relaxed atmosphere, Herbert insists his competitive streak is here to stay.
“I'm very competitive in everything I do, so as much as it can be a relaxed environment out there and obviously spectators around going to engage a lot more with the players hopefully,
“I'm still competing out there and I'm still here to win.”
The ISPS HANDA Vic Open tees off on Thursday 7 February, 2019.
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