AMERICA’S Jimmy Walker began his eighth season on the US PGA TOUR four months ago with no wins in 187 attempts – now he has three in just eight tournaments.
They are figures only matched on the TOUR in the last 20 years by Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson and David Duval. No one else has won so early so often.
“I don’t know if it was just a matter of doing it once and then having it happen again and then happen again,” Walker said after winning the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro Am with a 5-foot par putt on the 18th at Pebble Beach for a 2-over 74.
“I’ve always felt like I could win out here, and I think that’s what you have to believe to be out here — that you belong and that you can win. And finally, it happened. And it’s cool that it’s happened a couple more times. Quickly.”
The 35 year old had a little more drama than he planned for after beginning the final round in a weather effected event with a six stroke margin.
He was still five shots clear when he made the turn, and he was two shots ahead with two to play but then got himself into the situation where he needed to hole the final par putt to avoid a play-off with Pebble Beach specialist Dustin Johnson and fellow American Jim Renner.
“It’s drama, man,” Walker said on the 18th green. “It was too much for me.”
In the end his 11-under total beat the fast finishing Johnson (66) and Renner (67) by a stroke.
Scott Gardiner led the Aussies home and had his best tour finish of T13 with a final round 4-under 68 after blowing out somewhat in the third round, as many did in the atrocious conditions that spurred a play delay of more than two hours.
Gardiner has missed six of seven cuts this year and will no doubt be buoyed by his fightback.
Steven Bowditch (71) also featured with a T19 finish just a stroke behind Gardiner.
The other Aussies taking part can take some heart from the fact the varying weather condition on the three Monterey Peninsula courses used in rotation for the Pro-Am made scoring a bit of a lottery.
That includes Geoff Ogilvy who made an 81 in the third round and Jason Day who initially made the 54 hole cut with a good third round to make up for his poor second round only to be ousted when numbers were further reduced.AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am Leaderboard