5 Things: Jimmy Walker wins Frys.com title
Sunday, October 13, 2013
A first-time PGA Tour champion was crowned Sunday at the Frys.com Open.
It just wasn't the one many expected.
With 23-year-old Brooks Koepka faltering down the stretch, Jimmy Walker took advantage, shooting a final-round 5-under 66 to capture his first PGA Tour victory. At 17-under 267, Walker finished two shots clear of runner-up Vijay Singh.
Here are 5 Things you need to know from Sunday's final-round action at CordeValle in San Martin, Calif.:
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1. SEE YOU AT AUGUSTA, JIMMY: After seven full seasons on the PGA Tour, Jimmy Walker is a PGA Tour champion in his 188th career Tour event.
"It'll sink in after a while, (I'm) still feeling the adrenaline and everything," Walker said. "I feel a relief, a release kind of, right now. But it feels really good."
Walker trailed by as much as four shots early in his final round, but after a birdie at the par-5 15th, he took the lead for good. In all, Walker made six birdies in his final round.
"Everything felt like it was in control," said Walker, who made just one bogey in each of his final three rounds at CordeValle. His third-round 9-under 62 tied a course record.
With the victory, Walker takes the early lead in the FedEx Cup standings. He also earns a two-year exemption on the PGA Tour, and spots in the 2014 Hyundai Tournament of Champions and 2014 Players Championship.
But most importantly, he will play in the 2014 Masters.
We'll see you at Augusta, Jimmy.
"I like the way that sounds," Walker said.
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2. NOT HIS DAY: Brooks Koepka's first PGA Tour victory will have to wait.
Koepka, the 54-hole leader, led by as many as four shots early in his round Sunday. But he bogeyed four of his final 10 holes, and made just one birdie during that stretch, to surrender his lead. A tee ball in the water at the par-4 17th ended any hope of a victory for Koepka.
The 23-year-old out of Florida State finished tied for third at 14 under to earn a spot in next week's Shriners Hospitals for Children Open in Las Vegas.
"It's been a great week," said Koepka, who was competing on a sponsor exemption. "Obviously today wasn't the day I expected or anything, but it's still a good tournament. Just got to take the bright side and move on to next week."
Koepka, who won three times on the European Challenge Tour in 2013 to earn his European Tour card through 2014, was playing in his first non-major PGA Tour event.
He earned $240,000 for his performance this week at CordeValle, more than a third of what he needs to equal that of No. 125 on last season's money list ($610,178) and earn special temporary status. Jordan Spieth earned special temporary status last season before eventually winning his first Tour title and qualifying for the Tour Championship.
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3. HOME SWEET HOMA: Koepka wasn't the only player competing on a sponsor exemption to finish in the top 10 at CordeValle.
Max Homa, who played college golf at nearby Cal, tied for eighth after carding rounds of 69-68-66-69 to finish at 12-under 272. He made three birdies and three bogeys on his front nine Sunday before going bogey-free on the back nine with birdies at Nos. 16 and 17.
Homa, the 2013 NCAA individual champion, was making his first PGA Tour start since turning professional following this year's Walker Cup. Like Koepka, Homa earns a spot in next week's Shriners Hospitals for Children Open in Las Vegas.
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4. NA BACK IN ACTION: Kevin Na's return to the PGA Tour was a good one.
Na, who hadn't made a Tour start since the Masters in April because of bulging disks in his back, shot a second straight 7-under 64 Sunday at CordeValle. He finished T-3 at 14 under along with Brooks Koepka, Hideki Matsuyama and Scott Brown, who also carded a final-round 64.
"It's nice to be back, especially to get off to a good start," said Na, who finished 65th at the Web.com Tour's Hotel Fitness Championship last month. "I felt great coming into the weekend and I just tore it up. I hit it really good, putted great. I'm very happy."
Na's next Tour start will come next week at the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open at TPC Summerlin in Las Vegas. TPC Summerlin is Na's home course and is also the site of his only Tour victory – the 2011 Justin Timberlake Shriners Hospitals for Children Open.
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5. SHORT SHOTS: Vijay Singh's runner-up finish was his best finish since a solo second performance at the 2011 Northern Trust Open. . . . Billy Hurley III, a 2013 Web.com Tour graduate, tied for eighth to secure a spot in next week's field at TPC Summerlin. Hurley had only two top 10s and made just eight of 27 cuts in his rookie season on Tour in 2012. . . . Defending champion Jonas Blixt finished T-51 at 4 under after rounds of 69-72-69-70. . . . Hideki Matsuyama's T-3 showing at CordeValle was his best career finish on the PGA Tour. Since turning professional, Matusyama has not finished worse than T-21 in six Tour starts.