ISPS Handa Vic Open: Lucas Herbert heads home but not ready to celebrate just yet

Dubai Desert Classic winner Lucas Herbert is back home in Australia for the 2020 ISPS Handa Vic Open at 13th Beach Golf Links

Lucas Herbert stressed he has not arrived back home in Australia to celebrate his recent win in Dubai after playing in Saudi last week, as he prepares for the ISPS Handa Vic Open.

LUCAS Herbert is eyeing more silverware at the ISPS Handa Vic Open this week, just a fortnight after winning his first European Tour title at the Omega Dubai Desert Classic.

Herbert is from the city of Bendigo, approximately 125 miles from 13th Beach Golf Links – the host venue of the Vic Open since 2013.

The 24-year-old is looking forward to enjoying support from family and friends this week.

But Herbert insists that the champagne is on ice after his play-off victory against Christiaan Bezuidenhout at Emirates GC two weeks ago.

Herbert, who had been tipped by some pundits to be the next Australian winner in 2019, said: “I don’t turn up to any tournament just to enjoy it. You want to win every event you tee it up in.

“I’m definitely not here this week for a bit of a party with my friends.

“I’ve got next week off and then I’m playing two in a row and then I’ve got a pretty nice stretch off.

“I know in the back of my mind I’ve got some celebrating to do coming up, but right now it’s business time – and we’re going to go and do the things I need to do to play well.

“My game’s good. I played well this morning, so it’s just a case of trying to shake off a bit of jet lag from the travel in Saudi Arabia last week.

“The course is good. I’ve been here enough times to sort of know what’s going on, where they like to put all the pins and how it kind of plays.

“You get pretty much any wind direction out there, so having like a lot of experience is going to be really helpful if the weather behaves, or not, over the weekend.”

Herbert will be joined in the first two rounds by 2018 Dubai Desert Classic champion Haotong Li and three-time European Tour winner Marcus Fraser.

“I think game’s getting there, there are just little bits and pieces I need to put it together, I need to be sharper, said Haotong Li.

“Especially on this course. There’s a lot of fade shots so you have to hit keep your ball lower and hit more fairways. If you do that you’re going to have birdie chances.

“This is my first time playing in a tournament like this, but I think it’s a great idea and to grow the game and let more people realise golf can be a little bit different.

“It’s going to be an interesting week, but I’m enjoying it so far,” added the 24-year-old China pro who is looking for his third European Tour win, and his first Down Under.

Li, who broke through from the Asian Tour after winning the 2016 Volvo China Open, made his third appearance as a professional on Australian soil in 2011, and is making his Vic Open debut this week.

The ISPS Handa Vic Open sees men’s and women’s tournaments played concurrently on the same golf courses for equal prize money.

The first two rounds are played on the Beach and Creek Courses at Barwon Heads, with all the weekend’s action moving to the Beach Course.

All four days will be played played with men’s and women’s alternating groups.

The 36-hole cut sees both tournaments reduced to the top 60 and ties, with the top 35 and ties making a second cut which takes place after the third round.

The men’s event is co-sanctioned by the European Tour and ISPS Handa PGA Tour of Australasia, while the women’s event is co-sanctioned by the Ladies Professional Golf Association (LPGA) and Australia Ladies Professional Golf (ALPG).

•Play gets under way at 7.10pm UK time on Wednesday, February 5. To follow live scoring in round one click here.

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