Jim Herman shot a 7-under-par 64 on Thursday and built a two-shot lead over Sean O’Hair and Danny Lee among those who finished the rain-delayed opening round of the Nationwide Children’s Hospital Championship on the Web.com Tour.
Rain caused a three-hour delay in the morning, and the first round could not be completed until Friday.
Herman hit one shot before the delay, and then returned to hit 9-iron to 10 feet for birdie. That turned out to be his longest birdie of the round.
Andrew Svoboda, who won last week in North Carolina to clinch a PGA Tour card, was 4 under through 16 holes when darkness stopped play.
This is the third of four tournaments in the Web.Com Tour Finals, where players are trying to earn PGA cards. The fields are a mixture of Web.com Tour players from the top 75 on the money list, and the 75 players who failed to qualify for the FedEx Cup playoffs on the PGA Tour.
Herman was No. 139 in the FedEx Cup standings. He finished toward the bottom of the pack in the first two Web.com Tour Finals events, and was at No. 73 on the money list going into the Ohio stop. Perhaps being close to home has helped. He grew up in Cincinnati, and won a state championship on the Scarlet Course at Ohio State University.
”I wasn’t the individual champ, but our team was victorious,” Herman said. ”That was back in the fall of `95. Always good memories here.”
He also has plenty of support, with a dozen or so family and friends following along.
O’Hair is a four-time winner on the PGA Tour and played in the Presidents Cup just four years ago before having his worst year on tour, finishing 170th in the FedEx Cup. He was No. 26 going into the third Web.com Tour Finals, and a strong week could help ease the stress as he tries to get back on tour.
The top 25 players on the Web.com Tour money list are assured their cards — the Finals are to determine their priority ranking going into the new season — so only 25 cards are available for players like Herman and O’Hair.
Trevor Immelman, who won the opening Finals event in Indiana, shot a 77.