Jim Herman’s sticks finally came through in Houston.
Jim Herman was first off the tee at the Masters. He got there with a one shot victory five days earlier at the Shell Houston Open. It was his 106th PGA TOUR start. This is the stuff of dreams.
Herman waited 16 long and often painful years for the win. At 38, Jim Herman is the oldest player to notch a win this season and the oldest first-time winner since 44-year old Alex Cejka hoisted the Puerto Rico Open trophy last year.
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Herman played collegiate golf for Cincinnati, then moved to Florida, played the mini-tours, and in four consecutive years failed Q-School. But the game was in his blood. He worked as a club pro at PGA Village and then Trump National Bedminster, helping run member tournaments, giving lessons, and working “sun-up to sundown, just like any assistant professional.”
In 2007, on his 7th run at Q-School, Herman finally made it to stage two and that got him Web.com status. He’s a grinder and finally played his first PGA TOUR event in 2011. He also lost his card. It happened again in 2013 and then again in 2014. That was a low point, the year Jim Herman made 11 cuts out of 21 starts.
“I cried on my wife’s shoulder at dinner one night,” Herman remembered. “It was pretty low. This game is really hard and it will weigh on you.”
Things began to turn around for Herman in 2015. With 27 starts he made 18 cuts, recorded two top-10s, and saw his winnings top a million dollars. This year he’s made 10 cuts out of 14 starts and his winnings are getting close to two million.
In Houston he was tied for the lead at the start of the final round – the first time in his PGA TOUR career Jim Herman had been in this position. Herman fired a 4-under 68 to win. The first-time PGA TOUR winner was in contention for most of the day but took the lead for good on the par-3 16th when his 40-foot pitch shot rolled into the hole for birdie.
Herman used a 60-degree Vokey SM6 wedge to execute the improbable shot that earned him a two-year TOUR exemption — and a coveted spot in the Masters field.
Here’s a look at the rest of the equipment in Herman’s bag:
Driver: TaylorMade M1 (Aldila Rogue Black 70X), 10.5 degrees
3-wood: TaylorMade AeroBurner (Mitsubishi Fubuki K 80X shaft), 15 degrees
Hybrid: Adams Idea Pro (Matrix Ozik shaft), 20 degrees
Irons: TaylorMade RSi TP (4-9; KBS Tour shafts)
Wedges: TaylorMade Tour Preferred (47, 52 and 56 degrees; True Temper Dynamic Gold Tour Issue S400 shafts), Titleist Vokey SM6 (60 degrees; True Temper Dynamic Gold Tour Issue S400 shaft)
Putter: Bettinardi iNOVAi 1.0
Ball: Titleist Pro V1
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