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Vagaries at work

Tour pro misses two putts inside three feet on playoff hole for brutal finish at WGC-Match Play

March 26, 2022

Lucas Herbert reacts to a missed putt on the playoff hole on the first green Friday at Austin Country Club.

Ben Jared

It already had been a rough day for Lucas Herbert on Friday at the WGC-Dell Match Play Championship. A win in his match with Takumi Kanaya at Austin Country Club would have pushed the 26-year-old Aussie to a 3-0-0 record in group play and secured a spot in the Round of 16 in his first appearance in the tournament. Instead, Herbert lost three of the first four holes and eventually fell, 5 and 4, to the 23-year-old from Japan. Still, Herbert had a chance to make amends in a sudden-death playoff with Kanaya, with both now tied with 2-1 records as they were trying to advance to the knockout round.

Back to the first hole at Austin C.C., Herbert got the upper hand when he found the fairway off the first tee while Kanaya’s drive went left and forced him to punch out with his second shot. Herbert put the pressure on when his second found the green and left him 20 feet for birdie. Kanaya’s third left him with a 22-inch putt for par.

That’s when things started unraveling for Herbert, who ran his birdie try for the win 2 feet, 10 inches past the hole. Facing the short comebacker for par to likely tie the hole, Herbert proceeded to lip out putt out. In his frustration/confusion, he then attempted to tap in the bogey putt and missed it to.

Suddenly, Kanaya’s putt, which had never originally been conceded, was a good, Herbert picking up the mark to concede the hole and the playoff win.

The visuals of the sequence are a (painful) sight to behold:

“Oh my goodness, indeed”

There are a few things to digest with this. First, technically speaking, Herbert’s tap-in for bogey was played out of order, since Kanaya was away with his par attempt (you can still see his mark). Second, it’s unclear if Kanaya had actually conceded the bogey putt or not, making Herbert's miss moot (you couldn’t hear anything from the players in the audio). Either way, when Herbert picks up Kanaya’s mark on his par putt, that conceded the par attempt and gave Kanaya the win.

Afterward, Herbert didn’t speak to the media, while Kanaya offered up his thoughts on the finish: “Yeah, I was thinking of going to the next hole. But, yeah, I think it was a tough finish for Lucas. Very much pressure.”

Kanaya moved on to face Corey Conners in the Round of 16. Herbert's putt likely cost him a minimum of roughly $80,000, given the difference in money for losing in the Round of 16 to failing to advance to the knockout bracket at all.