Herman defeats fellow American Kirk in Australian playoff


Nationwide TourFINGAL, Australia – Jim Herman, who missed his last seven cuts in tournament play, won the Moonah Classic with a birdie on the first hole of a playoff against fellow American Chris Kirk on Saturday.

Herman shot a course-record 62 on the opening day and led or held a share of the lead throughout the joint Nationwide and Australasian PGA tour event.

Kirk and Herman finished with a 72-hole total of 11-under 277 on the Moonah Links course. Kirk bogeyed the 17th and missed a 4-foot putt for birdie on 18 that would have given him the win. Both shot 70s Sunday.

On the playoff hole, the par-5 18th, Herman hit his approach to about 5 feet, where he made the birdie putt for the title. Kirk was in trouble off the tee, hitting into rough on the left side of the fairway.

“I’d like to thank my friends and family who have stuck with me through some difficult times,” Herman said at the trophy presentation.

Robert Gates, who won last week’s season-opening New Zealand Open, finished in third place after a 66, one stroke back.

“I played great down the stretch,” Gates said. “It’s fun, it’s been a great two weeks, and I’ve played very well.”

Australian Jarrod Lyle (68), who lost his PGA Tour card last year, finished tied for fourth with American Tag Ridings (67), two strokes back.

Herman said he needs to be distracted between shots. His first-time caddie, Steve Bright, was required to be conversant in topics other than the game.

“He did a fabulous job,” Herman said. “Every time we came off the tee he just started talking to me.

“We weren’t worried about golf, we were talking about sports, movies. The more I’m talking the less nervous I get.

“I have a little problem with attention, a little ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder), maybe. I told him when I picked him out of the line on Tuesday, I’ll do all the numbers, I’ll ready all the putts, you just carry the bag and talk to me.”