It has been 16 years, 106 PGA Tour events, and hours of dedication toward a lifetime goal for the “dark horse” of 2016. Jim Herman, 38, wins the 2016 Shell Houston Open by one stroke for his first PGA Tour title. This long awaited victory will send Herman to Augusta National Golf Club for The Masters this week.
The Golf Club of Houston set up for a dramatic finish once again. The day began with two tied at the top, but a plethora of talented names just a few strokes behind.
Jordan Spieth was the story of the morning after he birdied five of his opening seven holes. He quickly climbed the leaderboard and seemed to be on track for an incredible round. However, his almost fantasy like play came to a halt after a few bogeys on the back nine and he finished 2-under on the day.
The afternoon was highlighted by the battle between Dustin Johnson, Henrik Stenson, and Jim Herman. Stenson was looking to end a winless drought that has been characterized by runner-up and top-10 finishes. He has not hoisted a trophy since November 2014, and unfortunately his return to the winner circle will continue heading to Augusta.
Johnson was also looking to end a year long spread between wins. But, a costly double bogey on the 11th hole may have lost him the tournament. Johnson finished two strokes back.
The dark horse of the week was Jim Herman and he proved to the world that he is no longer a journey man. Herman’s bogey free back nine showed poise and confidence in his game plan. He remained patient and hit quality pressure shots down the stretch. A magical birdie on the par-3 16th gave him the outright lead with two holes to play. He finished with routine pars and clinched his first PGA Tour victory.
Herman’s Shell Houston Open victory is life changing. After 16 years of following the dream he finally prevailed. A PGA Tour win grants him 500 FedEx Cup Points and a spot on tour for the next two seasons. However, the invitation to play in The Masters this coming week may just be at the top of the list.
“Master’s Week” is now upon us. Jim Herman along with the biggest names in golf will head to Augusta, GA for this year’s first major. The stage is set, and a green jacket is up for grabs.
Sources: PGATour.com; Photo courtesy of gettyimages.com