You know that old saying about good things coming in threes? Seemingly, it dates back in time – originally a Latin term, omne trium perfectum – but the so-called rule of three has somehow manifested itself on the European Tour at different points this season, most prominently when there were three South African wins in successive weeks in the cross-over between March and April.
On that occasion, Garrick Higgo (twice) and Dean Burmester were the victors in a Springbok clean sweep of the tournaments staged in the Canary Islands.
But it is on the verge of happening again with another southern hemisphere nation racking up the wins.
Now, an Australian version is on the cusp of emulating that sequence of wins: Lucas Herbert's win in the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open was followed up a week later by Min Woo Lee's win on Sunday in the abrdn Scottish Open. Can the sequence be extended at the 149th British Open at Royal St George's?
Even with Cameron Jones, the recent Rocket Mortgages Classic winner on the PGA Tour, spurning his opportunity to play in the Major, there are no fewer than 11 Australians in the field: Herbert, Lee, Jason Day, Matt Jones, Brady Kennedy, Deyen Lawson, Marc Leishman, Aaron Pike, Adam Scott, Jason Scrivener and Cameron Smith.
Herbert's form of late, winner in Mount Juliet (which punched his ticket into the British Open) and fourth at the Renaissance, where he was in a final round pairing with world number one Jon Rahm, has seen him move into the world's top-50 and feel more at home among the sport's elite.
As he put it of playing alongside Rahm, “Just playing with the (former) world number one and how he goes about it and (to) learn, but to be out there in my own shoes and play some really nice golf in front of him, that was something to build some confidence off of going forward into the future.”
With the Aussies dominating the tournaments in Europe in recent weeks, the momentum heading into the Major is with them. Of the 11 Australians in the field, only two - Scott (Masters 2013) and Day (US PGA 2015) - have actually won a Major title in their career, although Herbert, for one, is keen to keep the hot streak going: “Obviously coming off some good form, so I think there’s a lot of confidence to take.”
Lee, too, has adopted a similar approach: “Hopefully we can keep it going (at Royal St Georges); hopefully, it is one of us again. I’m happy for all those guys and happy for myself and getting the win. Go Australia! . . . . after playing in Europe and getting to know all the European guys, they all say The Open (is the one to win). So it has a special place in my heart and hopefully I can play really good. I’m just excited (to be playing), it’s going to be awesome!”