Lucas Herbert with the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open trophy
Lucas Herbert with the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open trophy Image Credit: Supplied

Lucas Herbert pocketed 3 million pounds and picked up the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open trophy to round off a perfect four days in Kilkenny.

The Australian produced a brilliant battling final-round 68 to win his second European Tour title in wire-to-wire fashion.

Herbert - who has now won in back-to-back seasons following his triumph at the 2020 Omega Dubai Desert Classic - entered the final day at Mount Juliet Estate with a one shot advantage and, while he extended that to three in the early stages of his round, he would not have it all his own way.

After losing control off the tee, he had to utilise all his scrambling skills and mental strength to reach the turn in 35 and at that point, he had been caught at the top of the leaderboard.

But the 25-year-old produced a wonderfully composed performance down the stretch to get his hands on the famous trophy, coming home in 33 to finish at 19-under par, three shots ahead of Swede Rikard Karlberg and four ahead of American Johannes Veerman.

Herbert said his career has come full circle after securing his second European Tour title.

The victory secured Herbert a place in the Open Championship at Royal St George’s later this month.

“It’s an unbelievable feeling,” Herbert said. “I felt like I was at one of my low points in my life when I played the Irish Open at Lahinch two years ago.

“It was my first full season on Tour and I really wasn’t enjoying my life out on the road and at the end of that week was pretty much questioning if this was the career that I wanted to do.

“There’s no better feeling than coming off that 18th green on Sunday having a good result under your belt and I just felt like I didn’t want to sit there at 30, 35, 40 and having hung up the clubs and being one of those guys that sits and goes ‘That could have been me.’

“That Irish Open was probably the low point and for it to come full circle now and be holding this trophy, it’s really special.”

Birdies on the second and third had extended Herbert’s overnight lead to three shots, but the 25-year-old then bogeyed the fifth and did well to scramble for par on the seventh and eighth after wild tee shots into the trees.

Veerman briefly pulled alongside Herbert on 17-under, but birdies on 15 and 17, allied to a bogey for the American on 16 reestablished a comfortable lead.

Shane Lowry will head into the defence of his Open title on a high after carding a closing 66 to finish on nine under.

But four-time major winner Rory McIlroy admitted he needs to work “pretty hard” on his game after weekend rounds of 73 and 74 left him in a tie for 59th.

McIlroy will now head to the Renaissance Club for the Scottish Open before the final major of the year at the Open from July 15.

“I certainly don’t feel as good about where I’m at compared to where I was after the US Open,” said McIlroy, who held a share of the lead in the final round at Torrey Pines before finishing in a tie for seventh.

“There’s nothing better than preparing for a major championship by getting into contention the week before.

“But I need to work pretty hard on my game the next few days before heading into the Scottish Open.”