Six months ago, Ravenswood 17-year-old Lucas Herbert doubted whether he could make it as a professional golfer.
But the amateur’s unforgettable performance in his first professional tournament – the Heritage Classic – has put an end to those reservations.
Yesterday, Herbert stood over a six-foot birdie putt on the 18th hole to win the title at the Heritage Golf and Country Club.
Herbert had charged from six shots behind David Bransdon with 10 holes to play, sinking birdies on 12, 13 and 16 while the overnight leader wobbled, leaving him with the biggest putt of his short career.
“I had a difficult little putt there on the last to win which, if you gave it to me right now with a couple of mates standing around trying to put me off, I reckon I’d hole it nine times out of 10,” Herbert said yesterday.
“But when you’re in your first pro event putting for the win it’s a pretty tough putt to hole when your hands are shaking, your knees are shaking, everything’s shaking.”
While Herbert missed the birdie, he made par for a bogey-free four-under 68 to finish 14-under for the tournament.
He then watched as Bransdon missed his birdie putt, sending them back down the par-four 18th for a three-way play-off with Max McCardle.
All three players hit the fairway off the tee, but Bransdon’s second shot was worthy of the winner – putting it to two feet of the pin while Herbert and McCardle were on the fringe of the green.
Bransdon birdied, McCardle hit par and Herbert bogeyed, although it mattered little to the Girton Grammar student who finished tied for second but, more importantly, proved to himself he could match it with the pros.
“The last six months I started to doubt myself a little bit as to whether I was a chance to do this or whether I was just kidding myself,” he said.
“But this week’s really just changed my mind and I’m really confident that I can do something with it.
“I’ve proved to myself this is what I can do when I’m older and it’s definitely what I want to do when I’m older as well.”
Herbert began the event with 70 off the stick last Thursday and followed it with a three-under 69 to be in a tie for 10th at the halfway mark.
But he took his game to another level at the weekend, firing a five-under 67 on Saturday before yesterday’s 68 on the St. John’s course.
That followed his course record 67 on Heritage’s Henley course on Monday in pre-qualifying.
“It was a really good round, I guess, and it gave me a good positive feeling going into the week ahead,” Herbert said.
“I really enjoyed the whole week, it was so much fun – I’d love to do it again.”
While his competitors at Heritage move onto the next event, Herbert will soon begin year 11, but only for a matter of days before joining three other Australian amateurs for the Ten Nations Cup in South Africa from February 3-9.