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Manage your game and limit risks for better scores

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Jimmy Walker didn’t exactly finish strong in claiming his third victory of the season Sunday, but he managed to avoid disaster with a par on the 72nd hole to win the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro Am by one shot.

It was pretty obvious that Walker didn’t have his best stuff on Sunday en route to firing a final-round 74.

Pebble Beach is one of the most difficult golf courses in the world, especially when the weather decides to be a factor.

This leaves the potential for a big number lurking on nearly every hole. Avoiding those big numbers is exactly what Walker did, as he played 72 holes without making a double bogey or worse.

It’s a fairly common thing for most golfers to have a good round going only to have their score inflated by a couple bad holes.

Here are some tips to help you avoid those big numbers and keep your scores where they belong:

Choose the correct recovery shot. Errant shots are sometimes unavoidable when you play. The trouble comes from turning one bad shot into several. Assessing the amount of risk involved when attempting a recovery shot is critical. Look at it two ways: what is the easiest shot that gets the ball in play and which shot is the most aggressive? The answer usually lies in the middle. Just remember, bogey isn’t always bad. Walker had five of them in the final round Sunday and still won on the PGA Tour.

Practice those recovery shots. Attempting a shot you’ve never attempted during the course of a competitive round is a big no-no. After a few rounds you may discover that you keep finding yourself in a particular situation but are unsure how to proceed. Whether on the driving range or on the course, the next time you practice try to recreate your trouble shots.

Get creative. Some of the most “creative” golfers on Tour just so happen to be some the least accurate drivers off the tee. Because they spend a lot of time hitting recovery shots, they’ve gotten creative in how to produce the best results. Hopefully the majority of your shots are in the fairway, but be prepared by using your creativity and practicing the recovery shots that will be the difference between you making par or triple bogey.

For more tips from Golf Channel to help you lower your scores, click here.