Jim Herman Wins Shell Houston Open and Final Spot in Masters Field

    Sunday April 3rd will go down as a banner day in the professional career of Jim Herman. At the Shell Houston Open, he collected his first PGA Tour win and earned an invitation to the year’s first major – the Masters – by holding off Sweden’s Henrik Stenson by a single stroke. Herman was ranked the 191st player in the world going into the tournament. Herman’s only professional win came in a tournament in Australia six years ago.

    The tournament, held at the Golf Club of Houston, is the PGA Tour’s final stop before the Masters Tournament. Tournament organizers have turned it into a nice rehearsal for Augusta National by emulating the Masters’ firm, fast greens, making it a preferred stop for players hoping to hone their short game skills before the year’s first major.

    Charley Hoffman continued his pattern of playing spectacular golf on Thursdays and Fridays. He opened with an 8-under par 64 on Thursday and also was the second round leader going into Saturday. Dustin Johnson, Henrik Stenson and Russell Henley showed their muscle in the third round playing themselves to the top of the leaderboard alongside Herman and Jamie Lovemark who shared the lead. Herman’s 68 on Sunday matched Stenson’s score and was one better than Johnson. Johnson finished alone in solo third at 13 under par. His chances for victory were severely damaged by a double bogey on the 11th hole. Spain’s Rafael Cabrera Bello finished in solo fourth at 12 under par. Co-leader Lovemark made a series of bogeys early in the round and never recovered.

    Other top players teed it up in Houston as well. World number ten player Patrick Reed finished in a tie for 10th, as did reigning Tournament Players Champion Rickie Fowler. Jordan Spieth, Phil Mickelson and Charl Schwartzel tied for 13th place. Spieth made an early move on Sunday, making four straight birdies but stumbled with two water balls, which led to two double bogeys, on the way to the clubhouse.

    First and second round leader Hoffman fell all the way to a tie for 33rd place after shooting rounds of 74 and 76 on the weekend.

    Herman was solid down the stretch, not bowing to the pressure of the moment and the marquee names that were pursuing him. He turned a possible bogey into an unlikely birdie on the 16th hole by holing a chip from the rough near the green. The Golf Club of Houston presents a scary tee shot on the home hole with water left and bunkers to the right. After being forced to wait for several minutes, Herman pounded a 315 yard plus drive down the center of the fairway, found the center of the green with his iron shot and routinely two-putted to secure the title.
    In addition to earning a spot in the Masters, Herman’s win qualifies him for the year’s final major, the PGA Championship.