Jul 4th, 2021
Herbert looking to go wire-to-wire at Irish Open
Australian leads by a single shot going into final round at Mount Juliet
Photography: Getty Images
The 25-year-old has long been tipped for big things in the game and his maiden European Tour victory at the 2020 Omega Dubai Desert Classic confirmed his prodigious talent. Herbert now stands on the brink of winning one of Europe’s most historic national opens, and he would join Ossie Pickworth (1950) and Brett Rumford (2004) as Australian winners of the prestigious title.
He looked to be steaming clear of the chasing pack midway through round three at Mount Juliet Estate, opening up a three-stroke advantage after a stunning opening ten holes that yielded four birdies without a single dropped shot.
The Victoria player struggled, however, to adjust to the swirling winds in the late afternoon and a pair of bogeys on the 11th and 14th holes pulled him back toward the rest of the field on a 15-under total, as he signed for a two-under third round 70. Mikko Ilonen of Finland was the last wire-to-wire winner of this event back in 2014.
"I played okay. In one aspect, it's kind of frustrating. I could have really put a good one away and felt like I got too far away from the majority of the field, but 15 probably has just left the door open a touch," said Herbert.
"So still going to have to really be on it tomorrow."
Johannes Veerman of the USA will be harbouring hopes of a dream maiden title as he sits one shot back following a five-under 67, while South African Justin Harding is two shots further back on 12 under after a stunning 65 early in the day – the 35-year-old already has one win under his belt this season at the Magical Kenya Open presented by Johnnie Walker.
Former Ryder Cup players Tommy Fleetwood and Thomas Pieters lie six shots off the pace in a share of 12th position, while Cormac Sharvin is the leading home player – the Northern Irishman carded a 69 for a seven-under total, two ahead of Graeme McDowell on five under while Rory McIlroy carded a one-over-par 73 for a four-under total.