Lucas Herbert has watched last year’s semi-final defeat to eventual ISPS HANDA World Super 6 Perth champion Kiradech Aphibarnrat over and over again.
Whether through a social media post by the PGA of Australia or a quick search on YouTube, the 23-year-old Aussie has pored over the six-hole matchplay battle he lost on the first shootout hole.
Not to torture himself or provide some kind of warped motivation to go one better this week at Lake Karrinyup Country Club, but to remember the good shots that he hit and imprint positive thoughts onto his brain.
After taking affiliate membership of the European Tour following the 2017 Australian PGA Championship, Herbert’s semi-final finish last February provided the early impetus he needed to go on and earn a full card for 2019.
As such, he returns to Perth not to right any wrongs but reflect on a week that had life-changing ramifications.
“What a win would have given me is what I ended up getting, so it's a bit easier to sleep on,” Herbert said of falling one well-struck wedge from qualifying for the final.
“I still think about that six-hole match against Kiradech in the semi quite a lot. I still go back and watch the highlights quite a bit because I hit some pretty good shots in there as well.
“I holed some nice putts under pressure which, going back and watching those shots again and watching those putts go in you get that nice vibe back.
"It refreshes in your memory that you've done that before and you can carry that on to the course a bit easier.
“You just see yourself hitting nice shots and it's good for positive feedback.
“He hit an unbelievable shot in the shootout hole to beat me, so it wasn't like I kind of lost it and, you know, fell apart.
“It was a little bit heart-breaking but I played pretty well and did everything I could. He was just better than me when it came down to the clutch.”
Despite the obvious disappointment, Herbert and Aphibarnrat struck up an unlikely friendship out on tour, the Thai powerhouse sharing insights in to how he climbed into the top echelon of world golf.
Prior to last year’s tournament the Bendigo product was ranked 226 in the world but will tee off on Thursday the No.76 ranked player on the planet.
His goals for 2019 include finishing inside the top-20 in the Race to Dubai rankings and breaking into the top-50 in the world, the advice of his semi-final conqueror still ringing in his ears.
“Out in Europe, and we hung out and chatted,” Herbert revealed.
“I remember sharing a courtesy car from the hotel to the airport in Turkey and we chatted about how he progressed into the top-50 in the world from the European Tour.
"He was chatting about how that went, and sort of giving me some ideas, hopefully, for down the track.
“Given the year I had last year and finishing 48th (on the Order of Merit), I think top-20 is a reasonable goal.
“Hopefully that will give me a chance to play some more Majors and WGCs through this year and next year as well.
"That will ultimately give me the exposure I need to the best players in the world, and to take my game to the next level again and hopefully try and crack into that US Tour.
“I definitely want to get to the top-50 in the world, so just working on those goals, but you set them at the start of the year and then forget about them.
“Then you go about worrying about the day to day processes and ticking box at each tournament, making sure you're ready to go come Thursday.”
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