|The 25-year-old already has one European Tour title to his name, having triumphed at the 2020 Omega Dubai Desert Classic in breakthrough season which earned him a 14th place finish on the Race to Dubai Rankings presented by Rolex.
Herbert carded an eight under par opening round at the sun-kissed Kilkenny venue to move to the summit, ahead of American Johannes Veerman who signed for a bogey-free seven under 65 late in the day while Scot Grant Forrest is a shot further back on six under.
Martin Kaymer and Nicolas Colsaerts, both of whom were central to Europe’s 2012 Ryder Cup triumph in the Miracle at Medinah, joined fellow former Ryder Cup players Tommy Fleetwood, Thorbjørn Olesen and Andy Sullivan, in a share of fourth place alongside nine others on five under par.
Colm Moriarty, a former Challenge Tour winner back in 2007, was the best of the homegrown players on four under par, while Open Champion Shane Lowry carded a two under par 70 and four-time Major winner Rory McIlroy opened his account with a 72.
Lucas Herbert: It was a bit of a slow start. 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, only hitting the two-ball with Laurie, and 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.
It was just try and hit the ball in the right spots, give yourself some looks on the greens and felt like if I could get to 5- or 6-under that would be a really good day. A few more rolled in and I got to eight.
You can see in the fairways, even walking up the 9th there, starting to get some fairways that look like some pretty typical Irish Open stuff. It’s always fun when you come out and play some firm, fast golf courses. Coming from America, the rough is not as thick as probably been used to but it definitely up enough to make you interested out there.
It’s a little bit tight in spots as well where you’re not taking driver and just sending it. You have to play to some positions. Second group out we were, the greens were unbelievable. I can’t remember putting on greens that nice. It was definitely good to get out early and take advantage of that. It will be interesting to see tomorrow afternoon how they are playing, but golf course is really nice.
Tommy Fleetwood: I played alright. There’s things that I would like to tidy up. There was plenty of positives in there. I putted great and sort of definitely on back nine started to have my eye in and I rolled it really well.
I would like to bring the right side of the golf course in a bit more but at the same time I was hitting a lot of shots with not a lot of shape. I was just blocking it out there a bit. Some of them are very, very tight fairways, as well. So it’s not easy, but I scored – after the first where I hit a bit of a clumsy pitch and that happens, but after that, I played solid and definitely didn’t make any mistakes.If I do that every day, I’ll be very happy but I think I would like to just tidy some things up but really happy with the day.
It was a bit windier. Of course the greens being pretty receptive, you know, some putts held the line as well. The wind was up a little bit and swirls a little bit. I think what you get in the afternoon is par 5s in general play a bit shorter and the course plays a bit shorter with it warming up and getting a bit firmer on the fairways.
“Like I said, it wasn’t easy, and you know, there’s obviously loads of different aspects of the game. Today like my scoring and my putting were my really good side of the game. For the week, I would like my long game to just come in a little bit. But I feel really good about the things I’m doing and definitely had some really good shots down 16, 17, 18, played those holes.”
Martin Kaymer: 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.
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 LARRAZ?BAL (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 J WINTHER (DEN), T PIETERS (BEL), G PORTEOUS (ENG), R H?JGAARD (DEN), N ELVIRA (ESP), C WOOD (ENG), B HEBERT (FRA), N LEMKE (SWE), A SADDIER (FRA), S LOWRY (IRL), J LAGERGREN (SWE), M LORENZO-VERA (FRA), S NORRIS (RSA), J MORRISON (ENG), R FISHER (ENG), R JACQUELIN (FRA),
71 N KEARNEY (IRL), M PAVON (FRA), S SODERBERG (SWE), R PARATORE (ITA), M KIEFFER (GER), D HOWELL (ENG), G COETZEE (RSA), G BHULLAR (IND), P FIGUEIREDO (POR), R KARLBERG (SWE), T KANAYA (JPN), R LANGASQUE (FRA), D DRYSDALE (SCO), M WARREN (SCO), W ORMSBY (AUS), B POKE (DEN),
72 S KIM (USA), H PORTEOUS (RSA), R MCILROY (NIR), P HANSON (SWE), A QUIROS (ESP), A BJ?RK (SWE), S KJELDSEN (DEN), L CANTER (ENG), R MCGOWAN (ENG), J CAMPILLO (ESP), O FARR (WAL), J JANEWATTANANOND (THA), J SENIOR (ENG), C HILL (SCO), J STALTER (FRA), J SURI (USA), D VAN DRIEL (NED), P DUNNE (IRL), T TREE (ENG),
73 A CA?IZARES (ESP), D FICHARDT (RSA), D BURMESTER (RSA), R LESTER (IRL), C PIGEM (ESP), O WILSON (ENG), P WARING (ENG), M POWER (AM) (IRL), S GALLACHER (SCO), D VAN TONDER (RSA), D COUPLAND (ENG), A MERONK (POL), D LAW (SCO), C SHARVIN (NIR), R SCIOT-SIEGRIST (FRA),
74 N BERTASIO (ITA), L GAGLI (ITA), G MCDOWELL (NIR), D HORSEY (ENG), E PEPPERELL (ENG), L BJERREGAARD (DEN), R ROUSSEL (FRA), J LUITEN (NED), S SHARMA (IND),
75 O FISHER (ENG), S V?LIM?KI (FIN), G MOYNIHAN (IRL), G GREEN (MAS), R SANTOS (POR), S HORSFIELD (ENG), S HEND (AUS), T AIKEN (RSA),
76 R FOX (NZL), H LI (CHN), L VAN MEIJEL (NED), A CHESTERS (ENG), J CALDWELL (NIR), P HARRINGTON (IRL),
77 C SHINKWIN (ENG), J MCLEOD (AUS), S THORNTON (IRL), G STORM (ENG),
78 B STONE (RSA), W NIENABER (RSA), C RAFFERTY (AM) (IRL), N O’BRIAIN (IRL), A PAVAN (ITA),
82 R DAWSON (IRL),