On a slow, dreary day on the Monterey Peninsula, Jimmy Walker nearly squandered a huge lead but made a 5-foot par putt on the 72nd hole to win the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am by one. Here’s the skinny on the final round:
The leaderboard: Jimmy Walker (-11); Dustin Johnson and Jim Renner (-10); Jordan Spieth and Kevin Na (-8); Hunter Mahan (-7)
What it means: Walker had no wins in his first 187 career starts, but he now has three in eight starts this season. He became just the fifth player since 1970 to win three-plus times in a season after previously being winless. What’s more, he joined Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson and David Duval as the only players since 1999 to win three times in at least the first eight events in a season. This victory seemingly makes Walker, 35, a lock for his first U.S. Ryder Cup team, even though the matches aren’t for another eight months.
Round of the day: Holding on to a big lead isn’t an easy task on the PGA Tour; just a few weeks ago, Patrick Reed had all he could handle when he took a seven-shot lead into the final round at the Humana Challenge. An opening bogey – after dropping just one shot in the first 54 holes – was an ominous start for Walker, and he battled all day just to shoot 2 over. Six shots ahead at the turn, Walker made bogeys on Nos. 10, 12 and 13, then three-putted from 27 feet to take a one-shot lead into the par-5 finisher. On the final hole, Walker played conservatively down the right rough line, then two-putted from 27 feet for the win.
Best of the rest: Dustin Johnson, who won at Pebble Beach in 2009 and 2010, charged up the leaderboard with a Sunday 66 to finish joint second, one shot behind. In seven career starts at this event, DJ has five top 10s. Jim Renner came home in 31 to tie for second and post his best career finish on Tour. (It was also his first made cut of the season.) Honorary mention goes to Jordan Spieth, who rebounded with a bogey-free 67 after a third-round 78; and Graeme McDowell, who was making his first appearance at Pebble since his 2010 U.S. Open victory there, also shot 67.
Biggest disappointment: Four-time champion Phil Mickelson had an awful time on the greens Sunday en route to a closing 74 that dropped him all the way to T-19. Playing his fourth event in a row, Lefty will now take two weeks off before teeing it up at the Honda Classic in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.
Shot of the day: Clinging to a one-shot lead, Walker made a 5-foot par putt on the 18th hole to win title No. 3.
Quote of the day: “Just drama, man. It’s good TV. It’s too much for me” – Walker