American Herman grabs early clubhouse lead at Honda Classic

Reuters News
Posted: Feb 26, 2015 2:39 PM

By Simon Evans

PALM BEACH GARDENS, Florida (Reuters) - American journeyman Jim Herman grabbed the early clubhouse lead at the Honda Classic after shooting a five-under-par 65 in the opening round at blustery PGA National on Thursday.

World number one Rory McIlroy, looking to make a winning start to his build-up to the April 9-12 Masters, was four-over par through five holes after a rough start that included a pair of double-bogeys.

Herman, 37 and seeking his first PGA Tour win, was bogey-free and managed five birdies despite strong winds on the Champion Course.

That left him one stroke ahead of compatriot Brendan Steele who finished strongly with four birdies and a bogey on the front nine, after starting on the 10th tee.

Two-time British Open winner Padraig Harrington of Ireland, who has slumped to 297th in the world rankings, recovered from an early bogey at the second en route to a 67 that left him two shots off the early lead.

German Martin Kaymer, the 2014 U.S. Open winner, shot a two-under 68 and said the conditions for the early players had been challenging.

"It's not boring. Every single hole you have to think and be very creative. I enjoy it. It was a proper test," said Kaymer. "The wind was blowing from every direction."

(Editing by Frank Pingue)