Lucas Herbert with his trophy in 2020. Photo Getty Images and European Tour

Defending champion, Lucas Herbert, has rebounded from an opening 74 at the Omega Dubai Desert Classic, his second round of 66 seeing him still six shots from the leader, Thomas Detry, but the Victorian has kept the door open for a second successive title at the Emirates Golf club.

After a horror opening nine of 39 on day one, Herbert has played the last 27 holes in 6 under and while it is still some five weeks away, a successful defence here could well see him inside the top 50 in the world (he is currently ranked 68th) and on track for a start at the Masters.

Earlier in the week, and as the defending champion, Herbert was asked his thoughts on the event and Dubai.

“For sure, the fact that I’m defending champion, it’s just good vibes at this place. I played well here in years gone by and yeah, I feel like it’s just a golf course that sets up really well for me and it’s just a really cool skyline there with Dubai right here and there’s just so much to enjoy about this place.”

The shaky start on day one now appears well behind him and he might yet push his way into contention over the weekend.

The leader, Detry, has yet to win on the European Tour although he has been inside the top three on seven occasions and the breakthrough win may be close at hand.

“I’ve been playing some really good golf, keeping it on the fairway and hitting every single green and getting up-and-down a couple good times so I’m very pleased.” Said the Belgian.

A win (this week) would be extra special. I’m moving here in a couple weeks, as well, so this is my new residence. So, winning at home would be amazing.”

Detry leads by one over Scotland’s Robert MacIntyre with Tommy Fleetwood amongst a group of three another shot back.

Wade Ormsby is 27th, New Zealander Ryan Fox 33rd, while last week’s runner-up in Abu Dhabi, Jason Scrivener, just made the cut at even par and ten shots from the lead.