Australian Lucas Herbert won his maiden European Tour title with a play-off victory over South Africa’s Christiaan Bezuidenhout on a dramatic final day at the Omega Dubai Desert Classic.
The duo entered the final day six shots off the lead, but with strong winds and showers at Emirates Golf Club, the leaderboard was blown wide open.
Bezuidenhout and Herbert both fired final round 68s to get to nine under par, with the South African finding water after laying up on the last and making a clutch putt for bogey, while Herbert birdied 17 and 18.
It was the 24-year-old Australian who found the water with his second on the first play-off hole before saving par thanks to a stunning shot from the drop zone to take it back to the tee. His second shot next time around could not have been more different, as he got within 20 feet and a two-putt birdie handed him the title.
Adri Arnaus, Dean Burmerster and Tom Lewis finished at seven under, a shot clear of Kurt Kitayama and third round leader Wu Ashun from China.
Herbert said: “Last week I was 20th going into the weekend, and just seemed to back out of it and finish down the field, so this week I’ve been working with my mental coach, Jamie Glazier, trying to be more positive. It certainly worked for me as I felt so confident out there and just felt like good golf was going to come.
“Obviously the second shot on the first play-off hole was probably not one of my best, but it’s never a perfect scenario at the business end of a lot of tournaments. Everyone hits bad shots, and everyone will probably forget about that now that I’ve just gotten that up-and-down and won a tournament. It’s an awesome feeling and I can’t wait to celebrate back home with the boys.”
Bezuidenhout said: “Those last five holes played quite brutal with the wind, so I was happy to finish off the way I did and make the save on 18.I believe I’m doing the right things and I’m working towards the right stuff, so it’s nice to see all the hard work is paying off, especially in big tournaments like this.”
Herbert will be hoping to continue his form at this week’s Saudi International, which gets under way at Royal Greens Golf Club on Thursday, January 30. If you’re looking to place a bet on the outcome, check out these reviews about 22bet. The $3.5m prize fund has undoubtedly been eclipsed by the level of appearance fees, with defending champion Dustin Johnson and Brooks Koepka headlining a strong field that has created an intriguing betting market with plenty of long prices driven as a result of these big-name stars.
Lucas Herbert’s winning gear
Driver: TaylorMade SIM (9°)
Fairway Woods: TaylorMade SIM (15°), TaylorMade M6 (19°)
Irons: TaylorMade P7 TW (4-PW)
Wedges: TaylorMade Milled Grind 2 (50°, 54°, 60°)
Putter: TaylorMade Spider X
Ball: TaylorMade TP5