It wasn’t a big name leading the Honda Classic after one round on Thursday, just a hard-working fellow named Jim Herman who happened to shoot a 65.
While big names like Rory McIlroy, Ernie Els, Dustin Johnson, and Billy Horschel were struggling, the 37-year-old Herman, whose only pro win was in 2010 on the Web.com Tour, is in the lead all alone. Herman entered the tournament ranked 394th in the world.
His best finish to date was a tie for 18th at the Shriners Open last October.
Just 19 players shot under par in the steamy Palm Beach conditions on Thursday. Herman enjoys a one-stroke lead over Brendan Steele, while three other players – including Padraig Harrington and Patrick Reed – are two strokes back.
McIlroy, playing in the US for the first time this year, was butt ugly from the start, a double bogey on No. 1, another on No. 5, and was +5 before birdying 17 and 18 to finish with a 73, tied for 79th place.
Even that round looked heavenly next to the +7s recorded by the likes of Els and Johnson, tied for 130th. Johnson, who lost in a playoff last week, suffered through three double bogeys and a triple-bogey 7 on No. 14.