Herman captures Houston Open
HUMBLE, Texas — Jim Herman delivered a masterful performance at just the right time Sunday in the Shell Houston Open.
Herman, winless in 105 previous starts on the PGA Tour, chipped in for birdie on the par-3 16th and finished with two solid pars for a 4-under 68 and a one-shot victory that sends him to the Masters for the first time in his career.
Herman tapped in for par and thrust both fists in the air after his one-shot victory over Henrik Stenson.
"Sorry for the tears, but I'm pretty happy," Herman said in his TV interview. "We really did a good job keeping our game plan. We wanted to give ourselves as many birdie chances as we could and keep it low stress. And geez, look what happened. Never thought it was possible."
The Houston Open was the final opportunity for players to get into the Masters, and Herman seemed like a long shot at No. 191 in the world whose only professional victory was six years ago at the Moonah Classic in Australia.
Stenson missed an 18-foot birdie putt on the last hole for a 68 to finish one shot behind. It was the Swede's eighth runner-up finish since his last victory in Dubai at the end of 2014.
Dustin Johnson tried to overcome a double bogey on the 11th hole. He made three birdies coming in, but had to settle for a 69 and was two shots back.
Jordan Spieth made four straight birdies early in his round, but two shots into the water led to double bogeys and a 70. He was seven back in a tie for 13th.
It was the third time since 2008 that a player won the Houston Open to get into the Masters, and Herman might be the most unlikely candidate.
Ten years ago, Herman was working as an assistant pro at Trump Bedminster in New Jersey when he played one day with course owner and GOP frontrunner Donald Trump, who wanted to know why he was folding shirts instead of competing against the best. Trump encouraged him to give it another shot, and Herman eventually made it out to the PGA Tour.
This is his fifth full season in the big leagues, and he still wears "Trump" on his golf shirts. Within the past month, Herman has changed from block letters of "Trump" to a logo from Trump's course.
LPGA: At Rancho, Mirage, Calif., Lydia Ko took advantage of Ariya Jutanugarn's late collapse to win the ANA Inspiration for her second straight major victory and second LPGA Tour win a row.
The top-ranked Ko hit an 88-yard wedge shot to a foot on the par-5 18th to set up her winning birdie — and an unlikely victory leap into Poppie's Pond. She closed with a 3-under 69 to finish at 12 under.
Jutanugarn had a two-stroke lead at 13 under with three holes to play. The 20-year-old Thai player bogeyed all three holes, three-putting the 16th, failing to get up-and-down from a bunker on 17 and hooking her drive into the water on 18.
Charley Hull and In Gee Chun finished a stroke behind Ko, and Jutanugarn ended up fourth at 10 under.
CHAMPIONS: At Saucier, Miss., Miguel Angel Jimenez shot an 8-under 64 to win the Mississippi Gulf Resort Classic by two strokes.
Jimenez started the day in third place, three shots behind the leader Scott Dunlap. But the 52-year-old from Spain took control on the tournament's final day thanks to a bogey-free round that included four straight birdies from No. 10 to No. 13.
It is Jimenez's third victory on the PGA Tour Champions in just 10 starts dating back to 2014. He was 14 under for the tournament at Fallen Oak.
WEB.COM: At Sao Paulo, Ashland native Jason Allred finished tied for 71st place after shooting a 2-over-par 73 in the Web.com Tour's Brazil Champions.
Andrew Svoboda rallied to win, closing with a birdie to overcome a one-stroke deficit to Bhavik Patel.