A birdie at the 72nd hole has likely secured Lucas Herbert promotion to the PGA Tour, finishing tied for fourth in the first event of the Korn Ferry Tour Finals, the Albertsons Boise Open in Idaho.
After Brett Drewitt earned one of 25 PGA Tour cards awarded after the end of the regular season last week, Herbert joined the Korn Ferry Tour for a three-event finals series where 25 additional cards are up for grabs.
Although he was cautious not to celebrate too soon, Herbert’s thrilling finish and two players ahead of him having already secured PGA Tour cards means he will be almost guaranteed to spend next year plying his trade primarily on the PGA Tour.
Beginning the final round in a share of 12th, Herbert had four birdies and two bogeys in a front nine of two-under 34, unable to get up-and-down at the par-4 10th to fall to 13-under for the tournament.
Needing a late surge to put himself in the frame for a PGA Tour card, the 25-year-old birdied the par-3 13th, sparking a run that included birdies at 15 and 16 and a brilliant approach into 18, his birdie putt from five feet curling in on the right edge to reach 17-under.
“I am just thrilled,” said Herbert, who played six regular-season PGA Tour events this year with a best finish a tie for 18th at The Memorial Tournament.
The realisation of Herbert’s PGA Tour dream came just a day after what would have been Jarrod Lyle’s 40th birthday, Herbert a Challenge ambassador and sporting his Leuk the Duck headcover at Hillcrest Country Club.
With two finals events remaining Aaron Baddeley (71) will need to post a high finish after he ended week one of the finals in a tie for 48th, West Australian Curtis Luck (76) the only other Aussie to make the cut in a share of 79th.
The pursuit of an LPGA Tour card also commenced over the weekend with amateur Grace Kim leading the way of the four Aussies to progress from Stage 1 of Qualifying School in California.
Kim’s closing five-under 67 was her best round of the tournament to climb into a tie for 10th at nine-under par, Emily Mahar (73), Kirsty Hodgkins (71) and Stephanie Bunque (71) also inside the top-95 who advance to Stage II in Florida in October.
Although safely secure on the Champions Tour, Rod Pampling can now start planning for a 2022 season that will start in Hawaii after taking out the Boeing Classic in Washington.
Breaking a Champions Tour winless drought stretching back to Rodger Davis’s Toshiba Senior Classic victory in 2003, Pampling used a closing round of six-under 66 to assume the lead in the clubhouse and then watched on as his nearest challengers failed to reach his winning mark of 12-under par.
“You look at all the Hall of Famers are just phenomenal out here. There’s so many and they still play really good golf,” said Pampling, who qualifies for the Mitsubishi Electric Championship at Hualalai reserved only for Tour winners.
“People think they don’t, but I’ll tell you what, they play so good. It’s just not quite as far off the tee anymore, but everything else is still really good.
“To get a win you’ve got to play good and thankfully I did today.
“We got a little bit lucky at the end, but sometimes that’s what you need.”
Elsewhere this week Blake Windred moved closer to a European Tour card with a tie for 10th at the Challenge Tour’s Sydbank Esbjerg Challenge, Maverick Antcliff was the best of the Aussies in a tie for 29th at the D+D Real Czech Masters and Minjee Lee and Stephanie Kyriacou both saw the top of the leaderboard before finishing fifth and 13th respectively at the AIG Women’s Open.
AIG Women’s Open
T5: Minjee Lee
T13: Stephanie Kyriacou
T34: Su Oh
T48: Hannah Green
MC: Whitney Hillier, Katherine Kirk, Sarah Kemp, Kirsten Rudgeley (a)
Korn Ferry Tour
Albertsons Boise Open
T4: Lucas Herbert
T48: Aaron Baddeley
T79: Curtis Luck
MC: Brett Drewitt, Greg Chalmers
WD: Rhein Gibson
PGA Tour Champions
Winner: Rod Pampling
T26: David McKenzie
T56: Robert Allenby
61: John Senden
T67: Stephen Leaney
D+D Real Czech Masters
T29: Maverick Antcliff
T47: Jake McLeod
WD: Deyen Lawson
MC: Bryden Macpherson
Japan Golf Tour
Shigeo Nagashima Invitational Sega Sammy Cup
T59: Scott Strange
MC: Andrew Evans, Todd Sinnott, Anthony Quayle, David Bransdon, Dylan Perry
Sydbank Esbjerg Challenge
T10: Blake Windred
Irish Legends Presented by The McGinley Foundation
T18: Peter Fowler
LPGA and Symetra Tour Qualifying Stage I
T10: Grace Kim (a)
T22: Emily Mahar (a)
T38: Kirsty Hodgkins (a)
T75: Stephanie Bunque
MC: Jess Whitting, Doey Choi