Walker Holds His Composure and Lead For First Major Win
Jimmy Walker sank a three-foot putt on his 72nd at Baltusrol Golf Club to capture his first win of the 2016 season and his first Major of his career. Walker’s win yesterday was the third time in the last twenty years that the PGA Championship was won by a wire-to-wire leader.
Walker’s 14-under-par almost wasn’t enough to outlast the number one player in the world, Jason Day. Luckily for Walker, Day was fighting from a deficit early after bogeying holes one and three. However, as Day does best, he put those bogeys out of his mind and fought back to 3-under on the day. Unfortunately, that score wasn’t enough to give himself a shot at back-to-back PGA Championships.
Walker’s win also capped off a season where Major championships all saw new faces in the spotlight. The winners of the four Major championships for the 2016-year were all first-time winners, making it only the fifth time in the Masters era that four first-time Major champions won in the same year.
The PGA Tour also broke the long-standing idea of “playing it where/how it lies,” and instituted the preferred lies rule, more commonly known as “winter rules,” for Sunday’s round. Given the steady rain and the conditions of the course, it almost seemed like a no-brainer decision to do so, but the PGA Tour has typically just let the competition play out.
Unfortunately, Henrik Stenson, who looked poised to make a run at winning his second major in two weeks, was unable to take advantage of the ruling and faltered in his final round after posting a 1-over 71, thanks to a double bogey on the par-4 15th hole.
This weekend’s event also saw the return of Brooks Koepka. Koepka who was (and potentially still is) battling an ankle injury withdrew from the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational earlier this month citing the ankle injury. Koepka didn’t show any sign of injury this weekend after posting a tied for fourth finish at 9-under.
Other notable players: Hideki Matsuyama, 9-under; Jordan Spieth, 6-under; Phil Mickelson, 3-under; Zach Johnson, 3-under; Bubba Watson, 1-over.
Next week the PGA Tour heads to TPC River Highlands in Cromwell, Connecticut for the Travelers Championship where Bubba Watson looks to shake off this week’s poor performance and defend his title from last year.