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Monday, April 4, 2016

The Limerick Summary: 2016 Shell Houston Open

Winner: Jim Herman

Around the wider world of golf: Lydia Ko outlasted everybody for her second major, the ANA Inspiration on the LPGA; Andrew Svoboda won the Brasil Champions on the Tour; Miguel Angel Jimenez won the Mississippi Gulf Resort Classic on the Champions Tour; and Ji-Hee Lee won the Yamaha Ladies Open on the JLPGA (bangkokbobby has details).

Jim Herman with Houston Open trophy

In a very real sense, Jim Herman wasn't even a nobody on Tour. His only pro victory came six years ago at a Tour event in Australia, and he was ranked 191 in the OWGR. He was, in the truest sense of the word, a journeyman. That means most people -- even fairly well-informed fans -- wouldn't have a clue who he is.

That all changed Sunday afternoon when Herman became the third player since 2008 to use the Shell Houston Open to get to the Masters... and the fourth player in that time to make the Houston Open his first PGA Tour win.

Herman had never had a 54-hole lead. He was surrounded by players like Dustin Johnson and Henrik Stenson -- proven players -- and tied with another player searching for his first win, Jamie Lovemark. Other big names like Spieth, Reed, Schwartzel, Fowler and Mickelson made runs at him as well. The commentators openly wondered how Herman would hold up under the pressure.

He held up just fine, calmly shooting a 4-under 68, which featured a bogey-free 3-under back9 punctuated with an unexpected chip-in birdie at 16. To me, the most impressive thing was his putting, as his stroke seemed totally unaffected by the situation. Time after time he stepped up and swept putts into the cup with a sure, smooth motion. He held it together pretty well.

And while he teared up during his interview, he also managed to hold it all together there until they said, "See you next week at the Masters," at which point his voice simply left him. Everybody understood.

After all, Jim Herman isn't a nobody anymore. He just took down some of the best in the game. Not only that, he made the prestigious list of first-time Limerick Summary subjects:
Another new winner breaks through
And heads for Augusta. Who knew
Jim Herman was ready,
His nerves could stay steady
Enough that his putts would run true?
The photo came from the tournament wrap-up page at

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