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A round of 64 at Mount Juliet Estate on Thursday gave Australian Lucas Herbert the opening round lead in the €3m Dubai Duty Free Irish Open in Co Kilkenny, the 21st of the European Tour’s 42 Race to Dubai events.
The 25-year-old, a winner of the 2020 Omega Dubai Desert Classic, holds a one shot advantage over American Johannes Veerman. Scotland’s Grant Forrest is a single shot further back.
“It was a bit of a slow start, admitted Herbert. “Even sort of the first eight holes, I birdied 15, made a nice putt and then 17, hit it in there pretty tight for eagle and missed it. Even the first eight holes felt a little bit slow out there. (I was) only hitting the two-ball with Laurie. We just both felt like we are hitting it quite nice and couldn’t make any putts.
“I made a really long one on 18 for birdie and that kind of sparked things and got things going. Was able to play really nice that last nine holes. Felt like I was trying to get to 5- or 6-under and I didn’t really want to try and just attack really, really hard.”
Herbert, who achieved a 14th place finish in last season’s Race to Dubai Rankings, carded an eight under par opening round at the sun-baked Kilkenny venue. Veerman in second achieved a bogey-free seven under 65 late in the day while Scot Grant Forrest signed for a six under par round of 66.
Ryder Cup starts high on the leaderboard
2012 European Ryder Cup players Martin Kaymer and Nicolas Colsaerts are next on the leaderboard, alongside fellow former Ryder Cup players Tommy Fleetwood, Thorbjørn Olesen and Andy Sullivan.They share fourth spot, on five under par, with a further nine players.
German Martin Kaymer was happy with his solid opening round, stating:
“I had a really solid start with five-under after ten holes and missed my tee shot on two. Still a bogey, which was fine. Then I struggled a little bit on the back nine, so the front nine of the golf course. Had a couple good chances coming in. Unfortunately missed a four-footer on the last for six-under would have been a really good score today. Five-under is fine, and I’m playing good golf.”
Colm Moriarty, a former Challenge Tour winner back in 2007, was the best of the Irish players on the opening day as he carded a four under par round. Reigning Open Champion Shane Lowry carded a two under par 70 and four-time Major winner Rory McIlroy opened his account with a 72.
Round One Scores:
64 L HERBERT (AUS),
65 J VEERMAN (USA),
66 G FORREST (SCO),
67 J SCRIVENER (AUS), C BEZUIDENHOUT (RSA), T FLEETWOOD (ENG), D WHITNELL (ENG), S GARCIA RODRIGUEZ (ESP), A JOHNSTON (ENG), R RAMSAY (SCO), M KAYMER (GER), T DETRY (BEL), A SULLIVAN (ENG), N COLSAERTS (BEL), T OLESEN (DEN), A ARNAUS (ESP), G HAVRET (FRA), S CROCKER (USA),
68 V NORRMAN (SWE), A COCKERILL (CAN), M ARMITAGE (ENG), M LEE (AUS), S BROWN (ENG), J GUERRIER (FRA), C PAISLEY (ENG), R ROCK (ENG), K SAMOOJA (FIN), C MORIARTY (IRL), K APHIBARNRAT (THA), S JAMIESON (SCO), M KINHULT (SWE), A LEVY (FRA), A ROZNER (FRA), M KAWAMURA (JPN), F ZANOTTI (PAR), F LAPORTA (ITA),
69 J CATLIN (USA), R BLAND (ENG), P LARRAZABAL (ESP), J WALTERS (RSA), E MOLINARI (ITA), J DONALDSON (WAL), K KITAYAMA (USA), Z LOMBARD (RSA), M ANTCLIFF (AUS), A RAI (ENG), J HARDING (RSA), J HANSEN (DEN), A OTAEGUI (ESP), J SMITH (ENG), W BESSELING (NED), R MCEVOY (ENG), M JORDAN (ENG), C SYME (SCO), M KORHONEN (FIN), T PULKKANEN (FIN).
70 S LOWRY
71 N KEARNEY
72 R MCILROY, P DUNNE
73 R LESTER, M POWER (AM), C SHARVIN
74 G MCDOWELL
75 G MOYNIHAN
76 J CALDWELL, P HARRINGTON
77 S THORNTON
78 C RAFFERTY (AM), N O’BRIAIN
82 R DAWSON