Lucas Herbert’s goal of playing his way onto the European Tour in 2019 has been given a major boost with a top-five finish at the Nordea Masters in Sweden.

Despondent after a disappointing 77 in the final round of the Open Championship, Herbert was top-30 at the Porsche European Open a week later, finished inside the top-20 at the tri-sanctioned Fiji International and has now climbed inside the top-100 in the Race to Dubai rankings on the back of his performance at Hills Golf Club in Gothenburg.

As Herbert fights for status in Europe, it was a victory for the true believers as Englishman Paul Waring survived a playoff against South Africa’s Thomas Aiken to secure the first European Tour win of his career in his 200th start.

Entering the final round tied for sixth, Herbert struggled to get anything going over the front nine and made the turn on the back of a bogey at the 423-metre, par-4 ninth. A second bogey at the par-4 11th had the 22-year-old trending in the wrong direction until an eagle 2 at the 244-metre, par-4 12th ignited a spectacular run into the clubhouse.

With ‘Leuk the Duck’ proudly sitting atop his driver all week in honour of Jarrod Lyle, Herbert made a second 2 in succession at the par-3 13th and birdies at the 14th, 16th and 18th holes to play the final nine holes of the tournament in just 29 strokes.

Not only did Herbert’s hot finish elevate him into 98th position in the Race to Dubai – the top-100 after the Portugal Masters earn automatic tour cards for 2019 – and bolster his bank account by more than €63,000, his lofty position on the leaderboard secured entry into this week’s D+D Real Czech Masters in Prague and another opportunity to further his affiliate status and solidify his place in Europe.

South Australian Adam Bland was in position to challenge after starting the tournament with a pair of 67s but was 1-under over the weekend to finish tied for 13th and now sits in 102nd position in the Race to Dubai.

In a rare appearance on tour this year, veteran Richard Green wound back the clock with a five-under 65 in the opening round but was unable to maintain that impressive pace to finish the week level-par and tied for 45th.

Jason Scrivener was the only other Australian to make the cut as he finished tied for 61st, with Matthew Millar, Brett Rumford, Danny List and Kiwi Josh Geary all failing to qualify for weekend action.

• The trio of Aussies who played in the European Challenge Tour’s Galgorm Resort and Spa Northern Ireland Open – Jack Munro, Ben Eccles and Dimi Papadatos – all failed to make an impression and missed the cut.


Fowler top-10 with bizarre scorecard

Peter Fowler couldn’t buy a par on the back nine of the VTB Russian Open Golf Championship, but it didn’t stop the Aussie veteran from logging his fifth top-10 of the season on the European Seniors Staysure Tour.

When the final round began, Fowler was sitting just inside the top-20 and as Moscow Country Club continued to keep low scores to a minimum, the New South Welshman turned in two-under to propel himself up the leaderboard.

But that’s where things took a turn for the worse, only for them to get better again in spectacular fashion.

Fowler dropped five shots in the space of four holes to start his back nine on Sunday but then made four birdies in succession, his roller-coaster final nine holes coming to a close with a bogey at the 392-metre, par-4 18th.

It was an incredible way to log an even-par round of 72 and allowed him to end the week tied for 10th and one of just 14 players to complete the three rounds under par. Englishman David Shacklady won with a score of eight-under par.

Mike Harwood birdied three of the first five holes of his final round but gave them all back on the closing nine holes to finish tied for 19th with Glenn Joyner bouncing back from a disastrous opening nine holes of 43 to start the tournament to play the weekend in two-under and finish tied for 38th.

• In the Champions Tour’s Dick’s Sporting Goods Open in New York, Australia’s sole representative, Victorian David McKenzie, saved his best round of the week until last, signing off with a four-under par 68 to finish tied for 55th, as American Bart Bryant earned his first title in more than five years.