When Lucas Herbert made his senior Country Week golf debut as a 14-year-old, Neangar Park Golf Club president Phil DeAraugo knew the teenager was special.
“Even as a 14-year-old he could play shots that we didn’t think could be played,” DeAraugo said on Tuesday.
“He’s always been a prodigious talent and now he’s taking that talent to the next level.”
Herbert makes his major debut this week when he tees off in the US Open at Shinnecock Hills.
The 22-year-old advanced to the US Open after winning the qualifying event at Portland Golf Club in Oregon last week.
Herbert’s second round 64 equalled the course record and his name now sits alongside one of the game’s greats in Ben Hogan.
“He’s ready for it,” DeAraugo said of Herbert’s US Open debut.
“He’s worked really hard on his game and his confidence has gone through the roof.
“He now believes that he should be on the world stage.”
Herbert’s US Open berth has created a buzz around Bendigo golf, particularly at his home club, Neangar Park.
“All the members are really excited,” DeAraugo said.
“Everyone wants to know how they can watch the tournament and they want to send him their best wishes.
“We’re mindful that we don’t want to bombard him with messages.
“His caddie (Craig Grigson) is also a member of Neangar Park and they’re very excited.”
DeAraugo said Herbert’s debut at a major had the potential to give junior golf in Bendigo a much-needed boost.
“There’s not a lot of juniors playing golf in Bendigo at the moment, but we’re hoping what Lucas is doing will help spur on some more interest,” DeAraugo said.
“We’ve just set up a new junior program with our new teaching pro Dean Dixon and we’re hoping Lucas will help with some promotion.
“Lucas is the type of guy that loves coming back to Neangar to play socially when he’s back in Australia.
“He’s very approachable for the juniors and he’s happy to help.”
Herbert’s US Open campaign starts at 4.20am Friday AEST.
He’ll tee off from the 10th hole in the fifth-last group of the day alongside American duo Brian Stuard and Stewart Hagestad.
Half an hour prior to Herbert’s tee-time, two groups start their tournament. The six players are – Tiger Woods, Dustin Johnson, Justin Thomas, Adam Scott, Henrik Stenson and Martin Kaymer.
Welcome to the big time, Lucas.