With a bogey-free round of 3-under 67 and a nervy par at the 72nd hole, Jimmy Walker edged a charging Jason Day by a shot to win the PGA Championship and claim his first major title. Here's what went down on a marathon day at Baltusrol, where Walker went 36 holes on Sunday to take the title.
What it means: It took Walker nine years and 188 starts to win his first PGA Tour title at the Frys.com Open in 2013. Now, less than three years later, he’s a six-time Tour victor and a major champion. Up one to start the final round thanks to four back-nine birdies in Sunday morning's third round, Walker opened his round with nine straight pars before holing out from the greenside bunker for birdie at 10. He immediately followed with a birdie at 11 to reach 13 under. A third and final birdie at No. 17 gave him the slim cushion he needed when Day capped his round with an eagle at the par-5 18th. After a highly questionable decision to go for the 18th green in two, Walker pitched onto the green and two-putted for par from 34 feet to take the title. In a testament to the strength of major championships, at 48th in the Official World Golf Ranking, Walker is the lowest-ranked major winner since Keegan Bradley won the PGA at Atlanta Athletic Club in 2011. He’s also now only the third wire-to-wire PGA champion in the last 20 years, joining Tiger Woods (2000) and Phil Mickelson (2005), who also did it at Baltusrol. Walker’s win also makes 2016 only the fifth year in the modern era to boast four first-time major winners, with Danny Willett, Dustin Johnson, Stenson, and – finally – Walker.
Biggest disappointments: The defending champion and the No. 1 player in the world, Day got off to a poor start with bogeys at Nos. 1 and 3 and they proved to be his downfall. Thereafter, he played the rest of the round in a spotless 5 under par and nearly forced a playoff with a dramatic eagle on 18. Unfortunately, two wayward drives in his first three holes came back to bite him. Separately, Stenson, the reigning Champion Golfer of the Year, got himself to one back of Walker with a birdie at the sixth and followed that with eight straight pars before taking himself out of contention with a mess of a double bogey from over the back of the 15th green. Another challenger who faded away, Koepka, playing 36 holes on an injured ankle, opened with 10 straight pars and had himself just two back before he whacked a tree on an attempted punch into the fairway at 11. He traded two birdies and two bogeys on his last eight holes.
Round of the day: Playing their final rounds while the leaders were still working through Round 3, Joost Luiten and Soren Kjeldsen posted matching 5-under 65s to finish 3 under for the week, tied for 33rd. Those were the best scores, but Walker's 68-67 Sunday was most impressive.
Best of the rest: Summerhays headlined a group of five players – including Martin Kaymer, Kevin Na, Kyle Reifers and Bradley – who turned in 4-under 66. With his third-place finish, Summerhays (89th in the world) earned a spot in the next year’s Masters. It will be his first trip to Augusta National.
Shot of the day: Walker’s birdie from the bunker (as seen above) at the par-4 10th to spark his 3-under par back nine.