Lucas Herbert is relishing the added pressure that comes with being a PGA Tour rookie, posting a second-round 65 to rocket into contention at the Bermuda Championship.
The Australian took advantage of the more serene conditions at Port Royal on Friday to reach seven under in the tournament, four shots behind leader Taylor Pendrith.
Herbert had an eagle on 17 which was followed by a closing birdie to move to tied sixth, after an opening 70.
“The weather improved and I was able to sort of claw back,” he said. “Obviously finished really nice today with an eagle on 17 and birdie on 18 and all of a sudden it looks like a round that was probably a lot better than it was.”
Making his way through the Korn Kerry Finals last year, the 25-year-old Victorian is not showing any signs of nerves in his first year on the Tour.
It was always his dream of competing with the very best, even it means added pressure.
“I’ve always wanted to play on the PGA Tour, so the opportunity to go to the Finals was perfect.
“I think for your first year out here as a rookie, you’ve just got to take what you get. Weeks like this where we do get a start, we have to take advantage of it.
“It’s pressure all season, so you’ve kind of just got to accept that that’s the nature of the beast and that’s what goes with our line of work.
“Like a little bit of stress and pressure, I think we can deal with that.”
Canadian Pendrith revelled in the pleasant conditions, making five straight birdies at the turn to flirt with a sub-60 round before posting a 10-under 61.
Pendrith, who holds a one shot lead over Patrick Rodgers going into the weekend, was stuck on the wrong side of the draw on Thursday when he had to play through driving rain and 35 mph gusts that allowed only six players from Thursday morning to break par.
“Felt a lot easier out there than yesterday,” Pendrith said. “Yesterday was some of the worst weather I’ve ever played in, just almost like surviving out there. Didn’t really matter how you hit it, you just have to hit shots. Today was a completely different story.”
Pendrith had nine birdies and on eagle to offset his lone bogey on the 13th to move past Rodgers into the lead at 11-under 131.
Vincent Whaley (67) was two shots behind, followed by Danny Lee (67) and David Skinns (67).
Patrick Reed, the highest-ranked player in the field at No.24, was six shots behind.
Australian Brad Drewitt shot a second-round 66 to climb 22 spots to be tied 26th at four under, while compatriot John Senden just made the even-par cut after rounds of 72 and 70.
The winner of the Bermuda will earn a spot in next year’s Masters.