Herman leads Valspar with flawless 62

Jim Herman wasn’t going to play in the Valspar Championship, but he’s very happy he changed his mind.

The 39-year-old Herman tied a career best by shooting a bogey-free, 9-under-par 62 and took a two-stroke lead over Henrik Stenson of Sweden and Russell Henley after one round on the Copperhead Course at Innisbrook Resort in Palm Harbor, Fla.

“We were fortunate that we didn’t have the wind (in the morning wave) that we usually have,” said Herman, who claimed his only PGA Tour victory last year in the Shell Houston Open. “The course was get-able and I was able to drive the ball well, hit some good iron shots and make a bunch of putts.

“I didn’t play well on the West Coast (three straight missed cuts), but I made a late commitment (to the Valspar) last week, and I’m glad I did the way I played today.”

Play was delayed for an hour at the start because of fog and the first round was halted by darkness with several players still on the course. They will return Friday morning to finish round one.

Stenson, who withdrew during the first round of the WGC-Mexico Championship last week because of a stomach bug, had four birdies in his first six holes en route to a 64, which Henley matched while making six birdies in a span of seven holes on his front nine.

James Hahn of Alameda and Cal was fourth after a bogey-free 65, followed by Seamus Power of Ireland, who sank a 38-foot birdie putt on his final hole to cap a 66.

Bryson DeChambeau, the 2015 NCAA champion from SMU who grew up in Clovis, was 4-under through 15 holes when darkness fell and was tied for sixth with Tony Finau, Keegan Bradley, Charles Howell III and Webb Simpson.

Defending champion Charl Schwartzel, who sustained a wrist injury that cause him to withdraw from Wednesday’s pro-am, was tied for 39th at 70.

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