Golf-Australian Herbert enjoys birdie-fest to lead Irish Open

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European Tour - Dubai Desert Classic

(Reuters) - Australian Lucas Herbert took a one-shot lead in the first round of the Irish Open after carding an eight-under-par 64 at the Mount Juliet Estate in Thomastown on Thursday.

Herbert made nine birdies, offset by a bogey on the par-three 11th, to lead American Johannes Veerman who signed for a blemish-free 65 with Scotland's Grant Forrest a further shot behind in third.

"I made a really long one on 18 for birdie and that kind of sparked things and got things going. Was able to play really nice that last nine holes," Herbert, who won the Dubai Desert Classic last year, said.

"I felt like I was trying to get to five or six-under and I didn't really want to try and just attack really, really hard."

Former world number one Rory McIlroy was eight shots off the lead after a poor round in which he had three bogeys on the front nine and he also had to make par saves on the last three holes.

"I just couldn't really get anything going," said Northern Ireland's McIlroy. "I hit a few iron shots left, I know that. So I'm going to go to the range after this and work on a couple of things.

"Apart from that, the putts that I did miss, I hit good putts and I misread them or they didn't do what I thought they were going to do. It was just one of those days."

(Reporting by Rohith Nair in Bengaluru, editing by Ed Osmond)