Herman wins Houston Open to earn Masters invite

Sun Apr 3, 2016 7:55pm EDT
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(Reuters) - American journeyman Jim Herman earned a last-minute invitation to the Masters when he secured a one-stroke victory at the Houston Open on Sunday.

Herman, whose event preparation included a social round with U.S. Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, shed tears of joy after carding a closing four-under-par 68 at the Golf Club of Houston in Humble, Texas.

And he wasted no time giving partial credit to Trump for even being on tour, after spending years in the golfing wilderness.

"He helped me financially, wrote me a check. He gave me a lot of confidence," Herman, who was a teaching pro at Trump National in New Jersey a decade ago, told reporters.

Herman seized his moment with a chip-in birdie at the 16th hole to take the lead, before closing with flawless pars at the final two holes, tapping in his winning putt from two feet to finish at 15-under 273.

Swede Henrik Stenson (68) finished in second place after missing an 18-foot birdie putt at the last.

Herman, 38, has never played the Masters and had not come close to winning in 105 career starts on the PGA Tour.

"I never thought it was possible," Herman said, his voice cracking with emotion.

He described how far he had come after being forced back to the tour qualifying school seven times after being unable to keep his card.   Continued...

PGA golfer Jim Herman tees off on the 13th hole during the third round of the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am at Spyglass Hill Golf Course. Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports