Herbert claims first European Tour title after dramatic Dubai play-off

By Joe Wright 26 January 2020 11
Herbert claims first European Tour title after dramatic Dubai play-off

Lucas Herbert claimed his first European Tour title after winning a dramatic play-off against Christiaan Bezuidenhout at the Dubai Desert Classic.

Final rounds of 68 propelled the duo into a share of the lead at nine under par after they had started Sunday six shots behind overnight leader Wu Ashun.

Herbert was in trouble after finding the water in the first play-off hole but saved himself with a brilliant shot before taking the title with a two-putt birdie.

The 24-year-old, a fitting champion on Australia Day, dedicated his first Tour triumph at his 50th attempt to those affected by the devastating bush fires back at home.

"It's the best thing ever, it's so good," said Herbert, who was born in Victoria. "We've got a bottle of scotch at home to celebrate back in Australia so I can't wait to get into that with the boys.

"There's some pretty average stuff happening in Australia right now with the fires, and Cam Smith said it a couple of weeks ago when he won [in Hawaii], everyone around the world is behind us and hopefully we can keep fighting harder than what I did on that first play-off hole.

"That's nothing compared to the firefighters and volunteers that are putting out the fires, so I'm sending all my love back home."

Bezuidenhout seemed most adept at dealing with the wet and windy conditions, as Wu double-bogeyed the 10th before further dropped shots on the 11th, 13th and 15th saw him drop out of contention.

However, with a two-shot lead on the 18th fairway, Bezuidenhout sent his third shot into the water and only a terrific putt limited the damage to a bogey.

That gave Herbert an opening, having gained shots on the 11th, 13th and 17th, and he duly delivered with a birdie finish to force the play-off.

Herbert exclaimed, "Oh my God – that may be the worst shot I've ever hit", as he sent his second shot into the water from the fairway, but a superb approach from the drop zone saw him match Bezuidenhout with a par five.

A thumping drive from back on the tee put the pressure on the South African, who found the rough behind the green and missed a birdie putt by inches, allowing Herbert to tap in for the trophy.

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