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The Journal Gazette

Monday, July 22, 2019 1:00 am

Golf

Trump putting advice pays off for Herman

Associated Press

NICHOLASVILLE, Ky. – From President Donald Trump's putting advice to playing partner Kelly Kraft's two late bogeys, Jim Herman got the help he needed to win the Barbasol Championship on Sunday for his second PGA Tour title.

He executed when he had to, too.

“Really proud of how I can step up on that 18th tee when everything's on the line and hit the fairway and hit the green and get out of there,” Herman said.

Trump's regular golf partner while working as an assistant professional at Trump National Bedminster in New Jersey, Herman changed to a conventional putting grip and clubhead at the president's suggestion following a recent round.

Encouraged by Trump more than a decade ago to pursue a playing career, Herman won the 2016 Shell Houston Open for his lone tour title – a victory that also followed a friendly round with Trump.

“I think I need to see him again soon,” the 41-year-old Herman said on the 18th green after his winning tap-in par. “He motivates me and puts me in a good spot.”

Herman finished with a 2-under 70 at Keene Trace in the round interrupted for over three hours because of a thunderstorm with the leaders on the seventh hole. Herman's putting cooled off after sizzling in opening rounds of 65, 65 and 62.

A shot ahead with three to play, Kraft bogeyed the par-3 16th and par-4 17th. He followed a third-round 61 with a 70 to finish a shot back.

“I just didn't have my best stuff today, but I had it going there – made a couple birdies, 14, 15,” Kraft said. “I just gave it to him coming down the stretch, that's basically all there is to it.”

Sepp Straka of Austria was a career-best third at 23 under after a 66.