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Herman claims first PGA TOUR victory

Cinderella-man wins in dramatic fashion at Shell Houston Open and gets Masters invite

Jim 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.

The Shell 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 Official World Golf Ranking, 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.

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 Shell Houston Open to get into the Masters.

This is his fifth full season on TOUR and he was artful in closing the deal at the Golf Club of Houston.

Herman and Jamie Lovemark were tied for the lead going into the final round. Lovemark was 4 over through six holes and was never a factor. Herman hung around during Spieth’s early charge, and even after Stenson took the lead.

Stenson fell back with a bogey from the bunker on the 14th hole, only to get that stroke back on the par-5 15th.

Herman, however, never flinched. Tied for the lead, he missed the green to the left on the 16th and was in thick grass near the bunker. His chip came out perfectly and dropped for a surprising birdie and a one-shot lead, and he held it.

He faced a long wait at the 18th to hit his tee shot, with a bunker to the right and water all the way down the left. Herman drilled it 316 yards down the middle, hit a safe shot to the middle of the green, and two putts later he was on his way to Augusta National.

The victory also gets Herman into the PGA Championship at Baltusrol Golf Club, July 28-31, for the first time.

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