Aussie dedicates tour win to bushfire victims
Lucas Herbert has dedicated his maiden European Tour victory to the rescue services battling the Australian bushfires.
The Victorian recovered from his "worst shot ever" to beat South Africa's Christiaan Bezuidenhout in a playoff to win the Dubai Desert Classic at the Emirates Golf Club.
Herbert birdied the second extra hole to edge out Bezuidenhout after the pair finished tied on nine-under following matching final rounds of 68. Bezuidenhout had looked set for victory on the first playoff hole when Herbert went for the green in two but carved his approach wildly into the water, a shot he described to his caddie as "maybe the worst shot I've ever hit in my life".
However, Herbert managed to regain his composure and, after a penalty drop, hit a superb pitch to within two feet of the hole to save par with Bezuidenhout unable to convert a long birdie putt.
The 24-year-old made the most of his reprieve with a huge drive on the second extra hole and this time only needed an iron to find the putting surface to set up a two-putt birdie as Bezuidenhout was unable to get up and down from over the green.
"Obviously, there's some pretty awful stuff happening right now in Australia with the fires," Herbert said.
"Everyone around the world is behind us and hopefully we can keep fighting harder than what I did on the first playoff hole.
"That's nothing compared to the firefighters and volunteers putting out the fires. Sending all my love back home and hope everyone is well."
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Defending champion Bryson DeChambeau held a share of the lead after a birdie on the 13th but bogeyed each of the last four holes to finish in a tie for eighth.
Herbert knows how he will celebrate his win, which he said felt surreal given his position going into the weekend.
"It's awesome, just the best thing ever," he told Sky Sports. "I've got a bottle of scotch back home in Australia to celebrate so I can't wait to get into that with the boys.
"The last 10 minutes feels like I've just been dreaming. It's so weird.
"Last week I was probably 20th going into the weekend and for about the 10th time in the last 12 months seemed to just back it out and finished at the back of the field.
"I got really frustrated so put in some really good tactics this week with my mental coach Jamie Glazier, trying to be really positive.
"It's such a cliche but it works so much, I felt so confident out there."
Bezuidenhout had earlier held a two-shot lead as he stood in the 18th fairway in regulation, only to spin his third shot off the green into the water.
The resulting bogey opened the door for the chasing pack and Herbert took advantage with birdies on the 17th and 18th to force the playoff.
England's Tom Lewis shared third place on seven under par with Spain's Adri Arnaus and South African Dean Burmester, with overnight leader Ashun Wu a shot further back alongside Kurt Kitayama after covering the back nine in 42 in his closing 77.