July 30 2011
By Helen Ross, PGATOUR.COM
WHITE SULPHUR SPRINGS, W. Va. -- Jimmy Walker couldn't be too disappointed.
He didn't become the sixth player in PGA TOUR history to shoot a 59 on Saturday at The Greenbrier Classic. But Walker still posted a career-low 62 that vaulted the man who made the cut on the number into a share of the lead when he finished.
It was a big turnaround -- in more ways than one.
"When I finished yesterday I didn't know if I was going to make the cut, and then the wind kind of picked up," Walker said. "(It was) kind of, Hey, we're here. I did it. Let's go make the best of it. You got nothing to lose when you're at the back of the pack.
"I told my wife last night, I was like, I'm just going to go out and attack and see what happens. It worked."
Walker said he got a putting tip from his father, who noticed something while watching The Greenbrier Classic on TV. Walker hit every green and ended up using just 28 putts after taking 29 and 31 in the two previous rounds.
"I wasn't like setting into my left side as he thought I was on
the West Coast this year when I putted really well and played
really well," said Walker, who had three top-10s in his first five
starts but none since. "So I kind of thought about it and talked to
my caddie about it this morning. My coach gave us a good tip about
really talking out putts. He thinks I do better when I talk about
where it's going and this, that, and the other.
"So we talked about a lot of the stuff today. I putted well. I made a lot of good putts. The stroke has felt like it's been there, I just haven't been making anything. I don't think I was rolling it any different today than I have been the last couple weeks."
Walker hit it inside 10 feet nine times on Saturday and made six of those for birdie. He also two-putted the par-5 12th for another birdie and made a 21-footer for his final one at the 16th hole. His previous career low was a 64, shot four times, most recently in the second round of last year's Greenbrier Classic.
Walker, who currently ranks 75th in the FedExCup, tied for fourth at year ago at The Old White TPC so his strong play this week should come as no surprise. Not to mention, he won the 2007 National Mining Association Pete Dye Classic, which was played about two-and-a-half hours away in Bridgeport, W. Va. He went on to win Nationwide Tour Player of the Year honors that season.
"We need to have more tournaments here, I guess," Walker said
with a grin. "When I won that Nationwide Tour event in 2007, I can
remember playing that golf course and thinking was hard the year
before, the two years before. I didn't play real well there, then
got back there and played solid and won it.
"And then last year came here and just enjoyed the golf course, enjoyed the place, enjoyed the Greenbrier. It's kind of fun dressing up at night going dinner and putting a coat on and gambling. Everybody down there is all nice and dressed up. They just run a nice, nice place."
Walker said playing out of the fairway to softer greens on Saturday was key. He ranks 186th in driving accuracy on TOUR this year but he only missed two fairways in the second round.
"If I'm in the fairway, I'll be able to be aggressive," Walker said. "If you're not fairway it's hard to be aggressive. They're going to tuck the pins and make the golf course a lot harder tomorrow, I think. So I'll need to be in the fairway I think to have a good run at playing well and seeing what happens. I don't know what these guys are going to do today. I did what I could do."