Herman wins first PGA TOUR event, Svoboda claims third Web.com Tour victory
ELMSFORD, N.Y. (April 3, 2016) – Sunday was a big day for former MGA competitors, as Jim Herman secured his first win on the PGA TOUR and Andrew Svoboda claimed his third career Web.com Tour victory.
Herman, who spent time as an assistant professional at Trump National-Bedminster in New Jersey, entered Sunday’s final round with a share of the lead at Golf Club of Houston. A crowded leaderboard developed early during the day, seven players standing within two shots of the lead at one point. But, as challengers like Jordan Spieth and Rickie Fowler faded down the stretch and others such as Henrik Stenson and Dustin Johnson made their own bids to win, Herman remained steady and rose to the top with a final round 68 and a 15-under 273 tournament total.
Herman made two birdies to one bogey on the front nine, before adding birdies on Nos. 11 and 13 to keep pace. Then a turning point came at the par-3 16th. Herman, sharing the lead with Stenson at the time, appeared to have a challenging up-and-down after his tee shot found the rough, narrowly missing a greenside bunker. But, Herman’s chip popped onto the green and tracked the hole the entire way, finding the bottom of the cup for his third birdie on the inward nine to produce a one-shot lead.
Despite facing the challenge of trying to close out his first win in his 106th PGA TOUR event, Herman appeared as if he had been there dozens of times before while playing the final two holes. He piped 300-plus yard drives to the middle of the fairways on both 17 and 18, found both greens and easily two-putted for a pair of pars and a one-shot win over Stenson—who had a birdie try on 18 slide just wide of the cup.
With the win, Herman will now play in this week’s Masters. It will be his third major start, having played in the U.S. Open in 2010 and 2012—both of which he qualified for at Canoe Brook Country Club in the MGA’s annually conducted Sectional Qualifying Round. During his post-round interview, Herman remarked that he “never thought it was possible,” when referencing competing at the Masters.
Herman placed third in the 2006 Met Open at Canoe Brook and tied for second in the 2007 Met Open at Meadow Brook.
Earlier in the day, Svoboda earned a one-shot win in the Web.com Tour’s Brasil Champions event in Sao Paulo, Brazil, firing a four-day total of 23-under-par 261 (64-65-65-67).
Svoboda, a native of New Rochelle, N.Y., and 2003 MGA Player of the Year, battled with fellow American Bhavik Patel throughout the day as the two were consistently a couple of shots clear of the field. Patel took a one-shot lead after going par-birdie on Nos. 15 and 16, while Svoboda carded a bogey and a par. The duo pared the par-5 17th, and Svoboda came to the 18th hole down by one. However, Svoboda knocked in a six-foot birdie putt—his 26th of the week—while Patel carded a bogey after missing the green.
With the win, the St. John’s University graduate jumps to third on the Web.com Tour money list—positioning him nicely to finish in the top-25, who at year’s end earn a PGA TOUR card for the 2016-17 season.
Svoboda is a highly accomplished player in the Met Area, claiming many wins including the 1997 Met Junior, the 2003 Met Open as an amateur and the 2004 Met Amateur. He also coincidentally finished as a runner-up alongside Herman in the 2007 Met Open.