In a field populated by journeyman and a handful of up-and-comers, Lucas Herbert suddenly stands out.
Ranked No.57 in the world, only four players in the field at the Butterfield Bermuda Championship occupy a higher position in the Official World Golf Rankings than the 25-year-old Victorian and coach Dom Azzopardi is in the Caribbean to oversee Herbert’s preparation.
The Dubai Duty Free Irish Open champion in July, Herbert earned PGA Tour status through the Korn Ferry Tour Finals but has missed both cuts in his two starts to date, a weakened field at the picturesque Port Royal Golf Course an opportunity he is primed to take advantage of.
“Lucas has got his game face on,” Azzopardi warned in a post to Instagram, using the phrase “In it to win it” in a separate post showing the Bermuda Championship trophy.
Without a top-20 player in the world present – Patrick Reed is the highest-ranked player at No.24 – it shapes as an important week for the five Aussies in the field, Brett Drewitt hoping to make inroads into the FedEx Cup in his return to the PGA Tour while veterans Greg Chalmers, Cameron Percy and John Senden can enhance their categories with a strong showing.
With just three events left in the Ladies European Tour season it is a critical week also for Stephanie Kyriacou.
Winner of the Big Green Egg Open earlier in the year, Kyriacou is ranked third on the Order of Merit heading into the Dubai Moonlight Classic starting late on Wednesday night AEDT.
Tied for 17th in the tournament 12 months ago, if Kyriacou can end the season inside the top five she will earn entry to the LPGA Tour’s Q-Series in December to potentially make a move to the US in 2022.
In a quiet week for tournament golf around the world four Aussies are in action on the Japan Golf Tour’s ISPS HANDA Gatsu-n to tobase tournament in Ibaraki, Anthony Quayle at No.62 the highest on the moneylist.
Round 1 tee times AEDT
Ladies European Tour
Dubai Moonlight Classic
Emirates Golf Club (Faldo Cse), Dubai
11pm Stephanie Kyriacou, Ariya Jutanugarn, Atthaya Thitikul
11pm* Whitney Hillier, Eleanor Givens, Nuria Iturrioz
Defending champion: Minjee Lee
Past Aussie winners: Minjee Lee (2020)
Top Aussie prediction: Stephanie Kyriacou
TV schedule: Live 1am-4am Thursday, Friday, Saturday on Fox Sports 503
Butterfield Bermuda Championship
Port Royal Golf Course, Southampton, Bermuda
11.03pm Brett Drewitt, Ted Purdy, Damian Palanyandi
2.26am Danny Lee, Seung-Yul Noh, Peter Uihlein
2.26am* Cameron Percy, Sean O’Hair, Olin Browne
2.37am Greg Chalmers, Ben Martin, Johnson Wagner
2.37am* John Senden, DA Points, Andres Romero
3.10am* Lucas Herbert, Mito Pereira, Brandon Wu
Defending champion: Brian Gay
Past Aussie winners: Nil
Top Aussie prediction: Lucas Herbert
TV schedule: Live 4.30am-7.30am Friday, Saturday; Live 4am-7am Sunday, Monday on Fox Sports 503
Japan Golf Tour
ISPS HANDA Gatsu-n to tobase
Miho Golf Club, Ibaraki
10.10am* Todd Sinnott, Konosuke Nakazato, Tadahiro Takayama
10.20am David Bransdon, Naoto Takayanagi, Taihei Sato
10.50am* Anthony Quayle, Shota Akiyoshi, Yuta Ikeda
11.10am Dylan Perry, Yosuke Tsukada, Yuta Kinoshita
Defending champion: Inaugural event
Past Aussie winners: Nil
Top Aussie prediction: Anthony Quayle