England’s Eddie Pepperell and Matt Wallace had set the target at seven under par with bogey-free rounds of 64 during a low scoring morning, and for most of the afternoon it looked as though they would share the lead going into round two in Vilamoura.
But Australian Herbert went one better with another bogey-free round of 63 to get to eight under par, with 2012 Portugal Masters champion Shane Lowry also joining Pepperell and Wallace at one shot off the lead. In a good omen for Irishman Lowry, his caddie Bo Martin has won twice before on this course, alongside defending champion Lucas Bjerregaard of Denmark and Frenchman Alex Levy in 2014.
Herbert’s round of 63 matched his final-round total from the Rocco Forte Sicilian Open where he finished in a tie for third, one of four top tens this season that have helped him to 103rd on the Race to Dubai Rankings presented by Rolex as he seeks a first full campaign on Tour in 2019.
China’s Li Haotong is two shots off the lead at six under par, a shot clear of a group of ten players which includes 2017 Masters Tournament champion Sergio Garcia of Spain, Italian Renato Paratore and French pair Raphaël Jacquelin and Adrien Saddier,