• Aussie Herbert in front, Coetzee SA’s best

    Lucas Herbert
    Off to a great start

    Lucas Herbert equalled the lowest round of his European Tour career to take a one-shot lead after the first round of the Portugal Masters at Dom Pedro Victoria Golf Course.

    English duo Eddie Pepperell and Matt Wallace had set the target at seven under in the morning after rounds of 64 and it looked for a long time that they would not be caught in Vilamoura.

    But Australian Herbert went one better in a bogey-free 63 to get to eight under, with 2012 champion Shane Lowry also enjoying a productive afternoon to get within one of the lead.

    China’s Li Haotong was then at six under, a shot clear of a group of ten players including 2017 Masters Tournament champion Sergio Garcia.

    Herbert’s 63 matched his final-round total from the Rocco Forte Sicilian Open where he finished in a tie for third, one of four top tens this season that have helped him to 103rd on the Race to Dubai Rankings presented by Rolex as he seeks a first full campaign on Tour in 2019.

    Wallace got off to a roller coaster start, saving par on the first after taking a drop and then doing the same on the second after going in the water.

    A chip-in on the 12th brought an eagle and when the 28 year old followed a birdie on the 15th with a hat-trick of gains from the 18th – ending with another chip-in – he shared the lead.

    South Africa’s charge was led by George Coetzee, who finished with a 67 despite back to back bogeys at 16 and 17.

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