Lucas Herbert Claims Tense ISPS Handa Championship Playoff Win

The Australian defeated Aaron Cockerill with a birdie at the second playoff hole

Lucas Herbert fist pumps after securing a playoff victory
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Fans and viewers were treated a thrilling finale in Japan at the ISPS Handa Championship, with Lucas Herbert producing a stunning birdie at the second playoff hole to defeat Aaron Cockerill and pick up a fourth professional title in three years.

Throughout the final day, the trophy really could have gone anywhere, especially with Cockerill leading by one from Herbert when play started on Sunday.  What's more, there was also David Law just one back, with multiple players a handful of shots behind the Canadian, who was going in search of a maiden DP World Tour title.

Out the blocks, it was Herbert who made the early inroads, with the Australian birdieing the opening hole to move level with his opponent. However, just five holes in, it was actually Grant Forrest who found himself in the outright lead, with back-to-back birdies giving him a one shot advantage.

Herbert, though, fought back, with an eagle at the fifth meaning he leapfrogged Forrest and, with nine holes remaining, he was still leading by one, this time from Hill who was at 14-under-par.

Despite Herbert being in front, any number of players could still have won the event and, at the 14th, it was Forrest who made a move, with the Scot chipping in for a timely birdie putting him just one shot back. Not to be outdone, Cockerill, who was keeping in the mix, also birdied the 14th to move alongside Herbert with four holes remaining.

As both men parred in, we were set for a playoff with Herbert and Cockerill moving to 15-under-par for the tournament. At the first hole, both men brutally missed birdie opportunities as Herbert's chip slid by and Cockerill's putt somehow lipped out and did a near horseshoe.

Back up the 18th again it was advantage Herbert with the second shot, a stunning approach from a bare lie checking up next to the flag and finishing some eight-feet away.

As Cockerill missed his chance it was left to Herbert to finish the job, and that's exactly what he did, as his birdie putt rolled in for a third DP World Tour title and superb victory for the 27-year-old Australian.  

Matt Cradock
Staff Writer

Matt joined Golf Monthly in February 2021 covering weekend news, before also transitioning to equipment and testing. After freelancing for Golf Monthly and The PGA for 18 months, he was offered a full-time position at the company in October 2022 and continues to cover weekend news and social media, as well as help look after Golf Monthly’s many buyers’ guides and equipment reviews.

Taking up the game when he was just seven years of age, Matt made it into his county squad just a year later and continues to play the game at a high standard, with a handicap of around 2-4. To date, his best round came in 2016, where he shot a six-under-par 66 having been seven-under through nine holes. He currently plays at Witney Lakes in Oxfordshire and his favourite player is Rory McIlroy, despite nearly being struck by his second shot at the 17th during the 2015 BMW PGA Championship.

Matt’s current What’s In The Bag?

Driver: Honma TW747, 8.75°

Fairway Wood: TaylorMade Rocketballz Stage 2, 15°, 19°

Hybrid: Adams Super Hybrid, 22°

Irons: Mizuno MP54, 5-PW

Wedges: Cleveland 588 RTX 2.0 Tour Satin, 50°, 56°, 60°

Putter: Cleveland TFI 2135 Satin Cero

Ball: Titleist Pro V1x