JIMMY WALKER, A GUY WHO NEEDED 188 events to record his first PGA Tour win at the Frys.com Open last fall, has now grabbed his second win in six starts. Walker carded seven birdies at Waialae Country Club en route to a final-round 63 and a one-shot victory over Chris Kirk at the Sony Open in Hawaii.
It was tight coming down the stretch. Five players were tied for the lead on the final nine. Four players, including Walker, Kirk, and Harris English, were still fighting it out with about an hour to go. The long-hitting Walker got the upper hand with three consecutive birdies at 15, 16 and 17. A huge par save at 14 preceded the birdie run.
With rounds of 66, 67, 67 and 63, Walker finished at 17 under, which was also his winning total at the Frys.com Open.
“I’ve always felt like I belonged, and you need affirmation every now and then,” Walker said in an AP story. “The other win was like, ‘Yeah, OK, I can do it.’ I did it, and I was supposed to be able to do it. Everybody told me I was supposed to do it, and I finally did it. And then it’s, `Well, are you going to be the guy that won that you never hear from again?’ It’s nice to get it done and do it again today.”
Thanks to the new wraparound schedule and his two victories, Walker leads the FedEx Cup points race. That’s not all. The 34-year-old Texan sits atop the U.S. Ryder Cup points list. Pretty heady stuff. He also has moved up to 32nd in the Official World Golf Ranking.
Walker would be quick to admit that there’s a long way to go this season, but it’s not a moment too soon to enjoy his position and newfound success. It’s been a long, slow climb to the top for the journeyman. Now he can savor it, at least for a while.