News & Opinion

Jim Herman wins Wyndham to reserve spot in PGA Tour playoffs

Jim Herman winner 2020 Wyndham Championship final round
Jim Herman, who had been struggling all season, posts an improbable victory in the Wyndham Championship to soar up the FedEx Cup standings and earn a spot in the playoffs.

Starting the week at 192nd in playoff standings, Herman shoots 61-63 on weekend, rising to No. 54 and a berth at Northern Trust

Jim Herman was on the outside looking in at the PGA Tour's FedEx Cup playoffs when the Wyndham Championship began last week in Greensboro, N.C. His outlook is very different today.

Herman shot 7-under 63 on Sunday for a 21-under 259 total and one-stroke victory at Sedgefield Country Club, the final regular-season stop on the PGA Tour. It was the third career victory for Herman, 42, who surged from No. 192 in the FedEx Cup standings to No. 54 and a spot in this week’s playoff opener, the Northern Trust at TPC Boston in Norton, Mass.

The victory seemingly came from nowhere, as Herman had made only seven cuts in 18 starts in the 2019-20 season. His best finish was a T-27 at the 34-man Sentry Tournament of Champions, for which be qualified via a victory at the 2019 Barbasol Championship.

After his victory in Greensboro, Herman said on CBS that he had been “mentally deficient” in his struggles this season.

Any mental deficiencies were not apparent during the weekend as he shot a career-best 9-under 61 on Saturday to leap into contention. His 7-under 63 on Sunday was tied for the low round of the day (scores).

"Just getting through to the weekend was, you know, obviously what you're looking to do," Herman said, "Then, you never know what can happen on the weekends."

Billy Horschel, who had held the lead on the back nine in the final round, missed a potentially tying 9-foot birdie putt on the 18th hole and settled for 65 to finish second at 20-under 260.

Si Woo Kim, the 54-hole leader, shot 70 to tie for third at 18-under 262 with Kevin Kisner (64), Webb Simpson (65) and Doc Redman (68).

On his first five holes Sunday, Herman made two birdies and an eagle – from 59 feet at the par-5 fifth hole – to catch Kim. Herman gave back a shot at the par-4 sixth before playing the final 12 holes in 4 under.

Herman, a Cincinnati native who played college golf at the University of Cincinnati, has played many rounds of golf over the years with President Donald Trump, dating to Herman's days as an assistant professional at Trump National Bedminster in New Jersey. In fact, Trump prodded Herman to resume his quest as a touring professional, ultimately leading to Herman's first victory on the PGA Tour, at the 2016 Houston Open.

"He's a big fan of mine, a big supporter of mine," Herman said.

Herman called the victory "very satisfying" and "out of the blue."

"I guess whenever you win, you never really truly expect it," he said. "I mean, there's the guys at the top, they're expected to win every week, and they should expect that; they're that good. You know, we're all really darn good out here, but the mental game, it beats you down."

Two other players moved into the top 125 and a berth in the FedEx Cup playoffs: Zach Johnson (No. 104) and Shane Lowry (No. 122). Fabian Gomez, Russell Knox and Charl Schwartzel fell out.

From the 125-man Northern Trust this week, the low 70 in the FedEx Cup standings will qualify for the BMM Championship on Aug. 27-30 at Olympia Fields (Ill.) Country Club. Out of the BMW, the top 30 will qualify for the season-ending Tour Championship on Sept. 4-7 at East Lake Golf Club in Atlanta.

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