Lucas Herbert made it rather special with a maiden win on his 50thTour appearance and it came on Australia Day as his country battles with the bushfires back home.
Herbert was also thrilled to be in the company of Adam Scott, who won in Australia and Cameron Smith, who won in Hawaii, it was very special.
Finally he promised to put down Dubai as one of the first events when he works his schedule for next year.
Excerpts from the interview with media after the win:
Q: 50th appearance, first win on The European Tour. How does it feel?
LUCAS HERBERT: It feels pretty good. Yeah, I finished Top-10 quite a few times and that was a pretty cool rush but to win is something else. It’s just such a good feeling, and all of the bad times and all of the hard times and all the missed cuts, they made up for that feeling on the 18th green there when we won.
Yeah, it’s pretty good.
Q: And on all days, particularly special, today being Australia Day?
LUCAS HERBERT: Yeah, I mean, just the fact, everything that’s gone on back home, if I can a little bit of joy to the guys who are struggling back there, yeah, it’s real special, and go back and celebrate with the guys, brilliant.
Q: A lot of heritage with this event, 31 years. How have you found your time in Dubai?
LUCAS HERBERT: I love coming here. Down in the marina and down in the beach there, it’s a phenomenal city. Obviously the golf course here with that backdrop is something else. It’s pretty cool to watch golf shots take off into that. Love coming here and it’s definitely one of the first events on the schedule when I write it down the end of this year.
Q: How did you find the course itself; pretty challenging?
LUCAS HERBERT: It was brutal out there. That rough was up pretty thick. Those greens were baked. That little bit of rain through sort of the back nine kind of helped, because otherwise, those things were a lot to deal with.
So it tests so many parts of your game. It almost felt like a major in a way with the amount that you sort of just had to plan where you miss shots. It wasn’t necessarily about trying to hit it close. You just had to make sure that you didn’t miss in the wrong spot, and you know, thankfully that’s what I did.
Q: And then thoughts going through your head through the playoff? Obviously going through 18 twice must have been pretty difficult at the time.
LUCAS HERBERT: Yeah, I mean, I was so proud of the way that I obviously wedged it close and forced that into extra holes. I made probably a poor swing on the first tee shot and obviously a horrible swing on the second shot on the first playoff hole but I was pretty quick to work out what was going on there.
I felt like I knew what I did and I was able to correct that for the second playoff hole and felt like I hit two really nice shots there and really put the heat on Christian and kind of made things easy for me there at the end.
Q. Will you be back here next year? Going to be training in Dubai the week before and defend your title in 2021?
LUCAS HERBERT: Usually it’s back-to-back with the Abu Dhabi event last week, so I mean, this is one of the first events I’ll put on the schedule. It’s a great event. It’s awesome golf course. Obviously suits me. This week, when it’s tough, this is perfect.
Yeah, if I’m fit and healthy, I’ll definitely play this event next year.
Q: Any of your friends or family or you have been personally affected by what’s going on in Australia?
LUCAS HERBERT: Not with these fires, no. None of my family or friends have lost anything, but I think the wildlife’s been the biggest thing affected. Just surprising the number of deaths that are with wildlife. You look online with social media and see the donations that are being made. Like the things that celebrities and sports stars are putting up for auction, it’s phenomenal. They are getting behind everyone so much.
There’s a big sense of community within Australia that we are going to fight these fires and get through them. Fingers crossed for a little bit of rain; that might help, as well. Luckily, I don’t know anyone affected by them, but it’s still pretty bad.
Q: Can I ask you, it’s been a great run for Australian golf at the moment, Adam Scott winning before Christmas. We saw Cameron Smith win in Hawaii.
LUCAS HERBERT: Yeah, if I’m part of that club, that’s a pretty good club to be a part of. I think we’ve got some great players obviously playing. We are pretty well populated on tours around the world.
So yeah, it’s always great to see us Aussie guys succeeding, playing well, and winning. We all get behind each other, so yeah, I’m glad I could add to that list.
Q: And talking about adding names to list, you look at that trophy Tiger Woods winning, Ernie Els, Rory McIlroy, Thomas Björn. Good to be in that sort of company, as well?
LUCAS HERBERT: That’s pretty cool. I know Rory won this start for his first European Tour win, so we are both in that club. That’s a pretty cool club to be a part of, too.
Q: Can you just talk to us about the 18th hole, the playoff, the first time, what were the thoughts going in your mind, and the shot that you hit, what did you tell yourself?
LUCAS HERBERT: Which shot.
Q: The first playoff hole.
LUCAS HERBERT: Second shot, yeah. We said at the start of the week, anything more than 250 to the front edge, we weren’t going to go for the green and it was 246. So it was right on sort of the go number.
I kind of thought before the playoff, Christian is pretty short, and he’s probably going to get home in two. Actually I was quite surprised he got home for two in that second playoff hole. I thought if I could use the advantage of getting on the green in two. It’s a pretty hard pin to pitch at. So I thought I would use my advantage there and get it up on the green; that might be helpful. Obviously didn’t make the greatest swing there with the second shot.
But then from there hit — like I spoke about it with my mental coach that we’re going to make some bad swings and some — there’s going to be some unlucky breaks out there, and if you look back at anyone who wins tournaments, no one does it perfectly. Everyone hits poor shots here or there and everyone has a bad break, and it was just a poor shot.
Thankfully I had the worst shot I hit with the week with the best shot I hit of the week to force the second playoff hole. And obviously with Christian hitting it in the water on the last in regulation and feeling like he had that and lost it, it might have put enough pressure on him that that second playoff hole birdie was good enough to win.
Q: Winning so early in the year, two-year exemption, which is virtually a three-year exemption, what does that do for your career and schedule-wise rest of the year?
LUCAS HERBERT: These are questions that I have not even thought about. I mean, goal early in the year was to play well, try and get myself into bigger events like try and get myself into WGC events or whatever, those kind of stuff, majors.
I haven’t even thought about what this is going to do, but the bigger events we can get into, the better, and hopefully I’m looking forward to try and play in those, and you know, win again. That would be great. It was a pretty good field, so I wouldn’t mind doing it again.