Walker leads by two, eyes Sony title defense


Jimmy Walker let one get away at Kapalua, but he appears eager to make up for that near-miss in Honolulu. Here's how things look after three rounds of the Sony Open in Hawaii, where Walker leads by two shots:

Leaderboard: Jimmy Walker (-16), Matt Kuchar (-14), Brian Harman (-13), Troy Merritt (-13), Tim Clark (-12), Justin Thomas (-12), Max Homa (-11)

What it means: Walker won this event a year ago and still knows the breaks at Waialae, as he finished his round Saturday with 11 straight one-putts. The effort helped him overtake a trio of co-leaders and he now stands 18 holes away from a successful title defense and his fourth PGA Tour victory since October 2013.

Round of the day: Walker played his first two holes in 1 over, but from there he made nearly everything in sight. Walker's round of 8-under 62 featured 10 birdies against two bogeys, including circles on eight of his final 10 holes, and he was the only player from the last five threesomes to shoot lower than 67.

Best of the rest: Homa began the day nine shots off the pace but surged onto the leaderboard thanks to a 7-under 63. An NCAA individual champion in 2013 while at Cal, Homa's round included six birdies, one bogey and an eagle after an improbable hole-out on No. 16.

Biggest disappointment: Webb Simpson began the day with a share of the lead, but the birdie chances dried up during a 1-over 71 in the third round. Simpson made only one birdie on the day and now finds himself in a tie for eighth, six shots off the pace in his first PGA Tour event with a regulation-length putter.

Main storyline heading into Sunday: As was the case in the late stages of last week's Hyundai Tournament of Champions, this appears to be Walker's tournament to lose. While he struggled to the finish line Monday and ultimately lost a playoff to Patrick Reed at Kapalua, this time around he'll look to hold off a group of contenders headlined by Kuchar and Harman, a winner at the John Deere Classic in July.

Quote of the day: "I was pretty bummed, but I got over it. We get over it out here pretty quick. It's golf, and we always have another tournament to go to." - Walker