Herman only one shot off course record
PALM HARBOUR, Florida – Notes and observations from Thursday’s first round of the Valspar Championship, where, after a one-hour fog delay, Jim Herman, pictured below, came within a shot of the course record in shooting a 9-under 62.
Russell Henley (64) bogeyed his first hole but stormed back for his lowest round of the year, and Henrik Stenson later joined him at that 7 under number, only two off the lead. A handful of players were still out on the course when play was called for darkness at 6:43 p.m.
For more coverage from the Copperhead Course at Innisbrook Resort, click here for the Daily Wrap-up.
HERMAN GETS PUSH FROM JACKUS PGA TOUR NEWS RELEASE
Jim Herman, who has his 40th birthday in May and whose breakthrough US PGA Tour victory came at last year’s Shell Houston Open, wasn’t planning on playing this week's Valspar tournament.
Then he shot 7 under on his own ball at the Seminole Pro-Am, a performance witnessed by, among others, former GE chairman Jack Welch.
“Every hole it was, ‘Why aren’t you playing Valspar?’” Herman said.
At Welch’s insistence, Herman was a late commit for the Valspar, where on Thursday his nine-birdie, no-bogey 62 tied his career low on Tour (2015 Shriners Hospitals for Children Open).
It also threatened the course record at Copperhead, which remains Padraig Harrington’s first-round 61 in 2012.
Herman hit 9 of 13 fairways, and 15 of 18 greens in regulation. He was so dialled-in with his irons he thought he’d aced the 195-yard, par-3 fourth hole (His 7-iron tee shot came within a foot of going in the hole, leaving him with a kick-in birdie).
“That was a fun round,” said Herman, who is perhaps most famous for counting President Donald Trump as one of his financial backers when he was just breaking in as a touring professional.
“I don't think there's many feelings better than shooting in the lower 60s on the US PGA Tour.”
Herman also credited a return to the claw putting grip and the same mallet putter he used last season. Although Jack Welch might have predicted it, Herman’s performance was something of a surprise, given his history at the Copperhead Course.
In two previous starts at the Valspar, in 2013 and 2016, he’d failed to shoot better than 72 and missed the cut twice. Thursday he took just 24 putts, and opened some eyes amongst his peers.
“I didn't see 9-under on this golf course, with how hard it is,” said James Hahn (6-under 65).
par 71. Players from USA unless stated otherwise
62 Jim Herman.
64 Russell Henley, Henrik Stenson (Sweden).
65 James Hahn.
66 Seamus Power (Ireland)
70 Russell Knox (Scotland) (T39)
71 Luke Donald (England) (T56)
72 Ian Poulter (England) (T79)
73 Martin Laird (Scotland) (T98)
75 Graeme McDowell (N Ireland) (T121)
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Labels: US PGA TOUR