Titleist golf ball loyalist Jim Herman (Pro V1) earned the final invitation to The Masters on Sunday, capturing the Shell Houston Open for his first career PGA TOUR title.
“I was not given the tournament. I know that,” Herman said in his post-round press conference. “I played really well, 9-under on the weekend, 4-under today. That's the thing, you know, you have the lead, you're sharing the lead, but most times, when you tee off on your final round you're not even leading anymore. So, pretty proud of myself to, you know, get up there, first time I was in the final group, and bring it home.”
Herman and fellow Titleist golf ball loyalist Henrik Stenson (Pro V1) closed with matching four-under-par 68’s en route to a Titleist 1-2 finish.
Herman, who was tied for the overnight lead, was the only player to fire four consecutive rounds in the 60’s.
Coming down the stretch, Herman had to dig deep. On the par-3 16th hole, he held a share of the lead with Stenson, but his 6-iron tee shot found the thick rough bordering a green-side bunker. Taking a precarious stance on the uphill slope, he calmly chopped his Pro V1 just over the collar of the putting surface and watched it track all the way to the bottom of the cup.
He followed up the birdie with two solid pars to seize the win.
“There were some shots yesterday, some chip shots, pitch shots that I couldn't have hit just two years ago under the pressure,” said Herman. “And then I chipped in. That's the deciding shot, you know? You're going to be having a chip shot to win your tournament or a pitch or putt and you're going to keep your head down and execute it. Just very proud of myself the way I hung in there and I was able to make some putts coming down the stretch, and obviously that chip-in on 16 really turned things around for me.”
Herman finished with a 15-under-par 273 victory total, one shot clear of Stenson. Now he has the enviable challenge of adjusting travel plans to accommodate his first trip down Magnolia Lane.
“You know, it's not like I brought an extra week's worth of clothes. It's just going to be flying by the seat of my pants, I guess, for the next 24 hours. I'm sure they'll all -- we'll get our daughter out of school and they'll be up at Augusta next week.”
Titleist Brand Ambassador Rafa Cabrera-Bello (Pro V1x) posted a Sunday best seven-under-par 65 to vault up the leaderboard and finish solo 4th.
Cabrera-Bello earned his way into his first Masters the previous week when he finished third at the WGC-Dell Match Play.
The Shell Houston Open was the final opportunity for players to get into the Masters.
THE COUNTS: A total of 95 players in the 144-player field trusted a Titleist Pro V1 or Pro V1x golf ball for their success at the Shell Houston Open, more than five times the nearest competitor with 16 and more than all competitors combined.
Titleist was also the top choice among players in the irons category with 43 sets in play. Vokey Design Wedges also topped the approach, sand and lob wedge (179) category and Scotty Cameron putters were the top choice in the putter (59) category.